Charles Taylor Monthly Trial Report: August-September 2010

Dear readers – please find below a summary of the Taylor trial for the months of August and September 2010 written by Jennifer Easterday at the UC Berkeley War Crimes Studies Center.  The views and opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the Open Society Justice Initiative. 

1.       Overview

The Taylor trial began to wind down during this reporting period, with the testimony of two Defense witnesses and three additional witnesses for the Prosecution. Issa Sesay concluded his testimony and the Defense called DCT-008, a Liberian radio operator for Taylor’s Special Security Services (SSS) unit. The Prosecution also called three witnesses in August, re-opening its case approximately a year and a half after formally resting in February 2009.

The Court dealt with a number of important legal issues including, inter alia, the exclusion of custodial statements given by Defense witness Issa Sesay; the introduction of documentary evidence; the Prosecution’s disclosure of information about Defense witness DCT-097; a Defense motion to exclude or limit evidence falling outside the scope of the indictment; and a motion requesting an investigation into contempt of court for the Prosecution.

Witnesses who testified during this reporting period include:

  1. Naomi Campbell
  2. Mia Farrow                
  3. Carole White
  4. DCT-172, Issa Sesay 
  5. DCT-008

This report summarizes witness testimony heard during the months of August and September 2010 and identifies important issues that have arisen at trial. As with previous WCSC monitoring reports, it is available at

2.       Defense Themes and Strategies

The Defense called some of its final witnesses in the Taylor trial during this reporting period. Testimony and legal issues reflected themes the Defense has pursued throughout its case, including denial that Taylor controlled or assisted the RUF (in particular with arms purchases), and claims that Taylor had no knowledge of certain communications, such as those between Benjamin Yeaten and Sam Bockarie.

The Court also issued decisions on a number of Defense motions during this reporting period. Most of the Defense motions concerned evidentiary matters. In July, the Defense petitioned the Court to exclude eleven statements taken by Prosecution investigators from Issa Sesay after he had been taken into custody in 2003. On August 12, a majority of Trial Chamber II, Justice Sebutinde dissenting, found that the motion was premature—since the Prosecution had not yet sought to introduce the statements—and therefore dismissed the Defense motion.[1]  The Defense also sought admission of documentary evidence under Rule 92bis, some of which was allowed by the Court and some denied, as discussed in more detail below. In addition, the Defense requested disclosure of exculpatory information and information about some $30,000 in payments made by the Prosecution to Defense Witness DCT-097. The Trial Chamber granted the Defense motion in part, ruling that Prosecutors must disclose information relating to payments made to DCT-097. The Defense also moved to exclude evidence falling outside the scope of the indictment. The Defense considered the “ex-temporal” and “ex-territorial” evidence introduced by the Prosecution to be irrelevant, not in the interests of justice and in violation of Article 17 and Rule 95.[2] The Trial Chamber dismissed the motion as prematurely filed, and found that the issues would be more appropriately addressed in the parties’ final briefs and closing arguments. Finally, in a still-undecided motion filed during the reporting period, the Defense alleged abuse of process for the way in which the Prosecution has conducted its investigations. The motion sought relief in the form of an independent investigation into the OTP and its investigators under Rule 77,[3] alleging that OTP practices brought the administration of justice into disrepute.

3.       Prosecution Themes and Strategies

In keeping with its strategy throughout the Defense case, the Prosecution sought to impeach Defense witnesses by questioning them on prior inconsistent statements, internal inconsistencies with their testimonial statements, and inconsistencies with other Defense evidence, including the testimony of Charles Taylor.

In an unusual move, the Trial Chamber allowed the Prosecution to re-open its case in order to call three new witnesses in August: Naomi Campbell, Mia Farrow and Carole White. The Prosecution had specially petitioned the Court for this privilege, arguing that the witnesses would be able to provide testimony about a central issue in the Taylor case—his participation in a joint criminal enterprise involving the sale of diamonds for arms to be used by the RUF in committing atrocities in Sierra Leone—and would impeach Taylor’s testimony that he had never possessed diamonds. The testimony these witnesses gave in August will be discussed in greater detail below.

The day after the Chamber dismissed the Defense motion to exclude Sesay’s custodial statements, the Prosecution sought to cross-examine Sesay on the custodial statement from March 10, 2003. The Prosecution wanted to use the interview to impeach Sesay’s testimony. The Chamber denied the application.[4] The Prosecution sought leave to appeal the decision, unsuccessfully arguing that there was no legal basis to exclude Sesay’s statements in the Taylor trial because Sesay appeared as a witness in the Taylor trial, whereas he was an Accused in the RUF trial. The Trial Chamber denied the Prosecution’s application for leave to appeal.

As it has with past Defense witnesses, the Prosecution also applied for disclosure of all of DCT-008’s six witness statements, arguing that the statements differed significantly from his in-court testimony. Both the Defense and the Prosecution reiterated the same arguments they have made on the matter throughout the trial.[5] Consistent with earlier decisions, the Trial Chamber again dismissed the application.[6] Although the Court refused to order disclosure of the witness statements themselves, the Prosecution relied heavily on summaries of the statements during the cross-examination of DCT-008. In order to support these accusations, the Prosecution wanted to mark all of the summaries for identification. By a majority, with Justice Sebutinde dissenting, the Judges allowed the summaries into evidence. 

4.       Legal and Procedural Issues 

This section details the legal and procedural issues that arose as the Taylor trial neared its conclusion, including evidentiary matters and longstanding Defense concerns about OTP witness management and investigative practices.

a.      Defense Motion to Exclude Custodial Statements of Issa Sesay

In July, the Defense petitioned the Court to exclude eleven statements Issa Sesay gave Prosecution investigators after he had been taken into custody in 2003. The Defense argued that because Trial Chamber I had excluded the statements from evidence in Sesay’s own trial (Prosecutor v. Sesay et al.) they should not be used for cross-examination in the Taylor trial. The Defense argued that admitting the statements would put the administration of justice into “disrepute.” In its response, the Prosecution opposed the motion and sought admission of a single day of custodial interview transcripts from March 10, 2003. Prosecutors argued that Sesay’s rights as an Accused in the RUF trial must be distinguished from his status as a witness in the Taylor trial. The Prosecution argued that the March 10 statement was relevant and that using it to cross-examine Sesay would be in the interests of justice.

By a majority, Justice Sebutinde dissenting, Trial Chamber II denied the motion, finding it premature, because the Prosecution had not requested introduction of the statements before the Defense filed its motion to exclude them.[7] The Court noted that the statements were “fresh evidence” as they “were not admitted during the Prosecution case, whether or not they were available to the Prosecution at the time.”[8] Focusing on procedure rather than the substance of the parties’ arguments, the Court considered that the Prosecution had not filed a motion to admit the documents, or addressed the test for admission of fresh evidence. The Majority interpreted the Prosecution’s response as merely advising the Court that it would eventually seek to use the March 10 interview in cross-examination.[9] This is in spite of the fact that the Prosecution explicitly “request[ed] the Chamber to . . . allow the Prosecution to use the Interview of 10 March 2003 during its cross-examination of Witness Sesay. . . .”[10] The Court further noted that without being able to review the relevant statement (appended to the motions only in part by the Prosecution, without the substance of the issues of interest to the Taylor trial), it could not make a ruling on its use and/or admissibility.

Justice Sebutinde, in her dissenting opinion, addressed the findings of Trial Chamber I, opining:

[T]he said documents should be excluded in this trial on the same grounds, notwithstanding that Mr. Sesay now appears in this trial as a witness and not as an Accused person. In my considered opinion, a distinction must be drawn by the Trial Chamber between legitimate witness statements that are obtained in legally acceptable circumstances and which may legitimately be used in evidence and/or during cross examination, on the one hand, and those that are obtained in illegal or illegitimate circumstances rendering their admission into evidence and/or use in cross-examination an embarrassment to the administration of justice, on the other. While the former are admissible, the latter are not.[11]

b.      Prosecution Motion to Use Statement and Subsequent Appeal

The day following the Chamber’s denial of the Defense motion to exclude Sesay’s custodial statements, the Prosecution sought to cross-examine Sesay on the March 10 statement. Counsel for the Prosecution only wanted to use prior inconsistent statements in the interview to impeach Sesay’s testimony. However, the Prosecution noted that the interview did include information that could prove Taylor’s guilt, specifically regarding Sesay’s delivery of diamonds to Taylor. Without hearing arguments on the issue, the Chamber unanimously denied the application for this use of “fresh evidence.” Referring to its November 30, 2009 decision on fresh evidence, the Chamber held that using the statements to impeach Sesay’s testimony would not be in the interests of justice and would violate Taylor’s rights to a fair trial because they tended to prove Taylor’s guilt.[12] Justice Lussick, delivering the decision of the court, ruled that:

[W]e’re aware of the way in which [the statement] was obtained and I think the application you referred to earlier sets out the details of how it was obtained involuntarily from the witness and adjudicated by Trial Chamber I to have been so involuntarily obtained. . . . Now, because . . . the material does go to the proof of guilt of the Accused, we’re of the view, as we have expressed in our decision of 30 November 2009, that such material would not be in the interests of justice to be used against the Accused by cross-examining this witness on that material. It also, in our view, would violate the fair trial rights of the accused.[13]

Thus, it seems that the Court reasoned that because the statement went to prove Taylor’s guilt and had been taken involuntarily from Sesay, using the statement in the Taylor trial would violate Taylor’s fair trial rights and would not be in the interests of justice.

The Prosecution sought leave to appeal the decision. The motion argued that the Court erred in law on two issues. First, the Prosecution argued that there was no legal basis to exclude Sesay’s March 10, 2003 statement in the Taylor trial because Sesay is appearing as a witness in the Taylor trial, whereas he was an Accused in the RUF trial. This, the Prosecution maintained, was a material distinction, and the Trial Chamber gave no indication how admission of the statements would breach Taylor’s fair trial rights as the Accused in the case.

Secondly, the Prosecution argued that the Court erred when it determined that allowing the Prosecution to use the statement would not be in the interests of justice. The Prosecution averred that cross-examining the Witness with prior inconsistent statements regarding Taylor’s relationship to the AFRC/RUF would, in fact, further the interests of justice. The motion argued that prohibiting use of the statements would interfere with the course of justice, violate the Prosecution’s fair trial rights and interrupt the search for the truth. “The ability of the Prosecution to effectively cross-examination is critical as the defense for Charles Taylor has placed great reliance on his evidence,” the Prosecution argued.[14] Prosecution counsel maintained that Sesay’s March 10, 2003 statement contradicted evidence on key aspects of the case. According to a summary annex attached to the Prosecution motion, Sesay previously told investigators:

  • That he met Taylor for the first time when he was on his way to Camp Naama;[15]
  • That Taylor had “complete responsibility” and gave orders directly to Sam Bockarie while Foday Sankoh was in prison;[16]
  • That he was instructed by Sankoh to take orders from Taylor during Sankoh’s absence;[17]
  • That Taylor had “sponsored the whole revolution; he trained the men, he sponsored the whole program;”[18]
  • That he delivered diamonds to Taylor eleven or twelve times in exchange for  ammunition and other supplies for the RUF;[19]
  • That Jungle communicated information from Liberia to the RUF.[20]

In order to be granted leave to seek interlocutory appeal of a Trial Chamber decision, the moving party must show irreparable prejudice and exceptional circumstances. In this case, the Prosecution argued that Sesay’s testimony in the Taylor trial was “diametrically opposed to the statement he initially gave to Prosecution investigators on the first occasion he was interviewed, as regards his dealings with the Accused and the role of the Accused in relation to the RUF.”[21] The Prosecution would suffer prejudice, the motion argued, if barred from using the prior statements, because it would not be able to conduct a “full and proper cross-examination” of a witness. As for “exceptional circumstances,” the Prosecution argued that determining the veracity of evidence given by this “uniquely situated” witness “will impact upon ultimate findings in the case” and therefore warrants leave to appeal the Trial Chamber’s decision. Moreover, the Prosecution maintained, the issues of 1) using a prior Accused’s statements in a separate trial where that Accused appears voluntarily as a witness; and 2) whether a Trial Chamber can follow decisions of another Chamber in determining the admissibility of statements used during cross-examination are of fundamental legal importance and also qualify as “exceptional circumstances” warranting an appeal.

The Defense opposed the motion, arguing that the Prosecution failed to satisfy the elements of the conjunctive test. The Defense argued that Trial Chamber II had not committed an error of law but had properly exercised its discretion in rejecting admission or use of the document and had correctly applied the test for fresh evidence that is probative of the guilt of the Accused.[22] Counsel for the Accused argued against the claim of exceptional circumstances, pointing out that the decision did not prevent the Prosecution from cross-examining Sesay.[23] Moreover, considering the tremendous resources available to the Prosecution, Defense argued, they could not claim to suffer irreparable prejudice based on the exclusion from evidence of a single prior statement.[24]

The Trial Chamber denied the Prosecution’s application. [25] The Court recalled that in November 2009, it held that “fresh evidence” containing evidence probative of the guilt of the Accused would only be allowed during cross-examination if it is 1) in the interests of justice; 2) does not violate the fair trial rights of the Accused; and 3) the Prosecution can establish “exceptional circumstances” for admitting the new evidence.[26] In determining whether the Prosecution met the “exceptional circumstances” prong of the fresh evidence test, the Trial Chamber would consider 1) when and how the Prosecution obtained the documents; 2) when the documents were disclosed to the Defense; and 3) why they were offered at the conclusion of the Prosecution’s case.[27]

The Court concluded that it had correctly exercised its judicial discretion when it held that the Prosecution had failed to meet the fresh evidence test, emphasizing the issues of the interests of justice, fair trial rights, and how the Prosecution obtained the materials. The Chamber recalled its oral decision of 13 August 2010, quoted above, where it seemed to rationalize that because the statements went to prove the guilty of the Accused, and had been involuntarily obtained from Sesay, using them would violate Taylor’s fair trial rights. The Court did not accept Prosecution arguments distinguishing the statements in the context of the RUF trial, and rejected Prosecution contentions that the decision gave rise to “novel issues of law.”[28] The Court concluded that the Prosecution had sufficient information at its disposal to cross-examine Sesay effectively and therefore could not claim “irreparable prejudice.”[29] It concluded by holding that the Prosecution had not met the test for leave to appeal.[30]

c.       Defense Motions for Admission of Documentary Evidence

Nearing the conclusion of the Defense case, Counsel for the Accused sought admission of certain documentary evidence under Rule 92bis. The rule allows for introduction of written statements in lieu of oral testimony, as long as the statements are not offered to prove the acts and conduct of the Accused.[31] The SCSL Appeals Chamber has held that Rule 92bis allows admission of “‘information’ – assertions of fact (but not opinion) made in documents or electronic communications – if such facts are relevant and their reliability is ‘susceptible to confirmation,’” [32] and provided the statements in questions are not tendered through a witness. [33] The Defense requested admission of parts of a report by the International Center for Transitional Justice on the Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission, autopsy reports of Enoch Dogolea, information about the Sierra Leone Special Task Force, and several other documents.

    i.    ICTJ Report on Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission

The Defense moved to admit portions of a report written by the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) on the Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission (Liberian TRC).[34] The Defense declared that the report was relevant and would influence the probative value of evidence stemming from the Liberian TRC introduced by the Prosecution. The Prosecution has relied on the Liberian TRC report in cross-examining Defense witnesses, and previously introduced excerpts from the Commission’s report as exhibits. The Defense hoped that the ICTJ report, critical of the Liberian TRC,[35] would call into question the probative value of the Commission’s findings and the evidence related to it.[36] As noted above, Rule 92bis only allows for the introduction of assertions of fact, and therefore the Defense contended that the section of the ICTJ Report it hoped to introduce was “primarily fact-based” as it “highlight[ed] the absence of proper citations and support for the TRC findings,” among other facts.[37]

The Prosecution opposed the motion, arguing that the ICTJ Report was irrelevant and largely opinion evidence. [38] The Prosecution motion attempted to contextualize the ICTJ Report and demonstrate that the report did not undermine the conclusions of the Liberian TRC.[39] Moreover, the Prosecution argued that “evidence relevant only to the credibility of credibility evidence” is too collateral to be relevant or admissible.[40] In the alternative, the Prosecution requested the Court to admit the entire ICTJ Report and Liberian TRC Report for proper context. In a reply, the Defense argued that although the report does contain opinion evidence, this should not preclude admission of the report since the opinions do not relate to the guilt or innocence of the Accused. Alternatively, the Defense requested that the Court admit only the factual sections of the report.

The Court denied the Defense motion. The Court found that the ICTJ report was essentially opinion evidence and therefore inadmissible under Rule 92bis. Given that the whole of the report was “influenced by the authors’ views and opinions,” the Court found that it would be impractical to admit portions of the report in isolation.[41]

    ii.   Autopsy Report of Enoch Dogolea

The Defense also sought admission of an autopsy report and related information surrounding the death of former Liberian Vice President Enoch Dogolea. Prosecution witness Joseph “ZigZag” Marzah, TF1-399, testified that on Taylor’s orders he and others had beaten Dogolea almost to the point of death. Marzah claimed that Dogolea later died as a result of the beating. Taylor refuted this claim, testifying that Dogolea died of hepatitis. Dogolea’s wife, Regina Mehn Dogolea, also testified for the Defense, telling the Court that her husband had died of an illness, not by murder. The Defense argued that the Court should admit the autopsy reports (four individual documents) as corroboration of Taylor’s and Dogolea’s testimony, and to discredit Marzah’s testimony.

The Prosecution opposed admission of the documents, claiming that 1) their reliability could not be confirmed; 2) they did not contain sufficient indicia of reliability; and 3) the documents contained opinion. The Prosecution argued that there was no evidence on the record that could corroborate the medical findings and opinions in some of the documents. Moreover, the Prosecution argued, the opinions expressed in two documents were expert opinions, and the Defense should have moved for their admission under Rule 94bis, not 92bis.[42] The Prosecution characterized the Defense strategy of using Rule 92bis as one of avoidance, or trying to add “two expert witnesses via the back door.”[43] According to the Prosecution, expert reports and statements can only be admitted under Rule 92bis when, in addition to meeting the Rule 92bis test, the right of the opposing party to cross-examine the expert is first evaluated under Rule 94bis(C). The Prosecution requested the right to cross-examine the experts, should the Court admit the autopsy reports.

The Court dismissed the Defense motion. It held that the medical opinions expressed in the documents were ostensibly expert opinions, and that therefore the documents were inadmissible under Rule 92bis. The Court also found that the Defense had failed to follow the procedure set out in Rule 94 for admission of expert witness statements.

    iii.  Special Task Force Documents

In another motion, the Defense requested admission of eleven documents that related to the Special Task Force (STF) of the Sierra Leonean Army (SLA). The Defense argued that the documents fulfill the requirements of Rule 92bis (described above) and would corroborate evidence on the record about the STF and explain the presence of Liberian fighters in Sierra Leone during the conflict. The Prosecution alleged that the presence of Liberian fighters in Sierra Leone is evidence of Taylor’s links with the RUF and AFRC, and the Defense sought to introduce the documents in lieu of oral evidence that the Liberians were former ULIMO soldiers fighting as a part of the SLA. In spite of the Prosecution’s objections to two of the documents on the grounds of irrelevancy, the Court granted this Defense motion in full.

    iv.    Contemporaneous Documents

The Defense sought admission of five documents that it argued were contemporaneous records of events related to the case, including:

  • A letter and a report concerning the political activities of the AFRC;
  • A letter corroborating Issa Sesay’s testimony that he requested a satellite phone from ECOWAS leaders and Nigerian President Obasanjo’s efforts to provide Sesay the phone vis-à-vis Taylor;
  • A newspaper article about the relocation of Prosecution witness Abu Keita; and
  • A letter explaining the presence and allegiance of Liberians in the Sierra Leone.

The Prosecution had no objection to the admission of these documents, and the Trial Chamber granted the Defense motion. 

d.      Defense Motion Requesting Disclosure of Information Regarding DCT-097

Returning to an issue that played a significant part of the Defense strategy during the Prosecution’s case-in-chief, the Defense filed a motion requesting disclosure of payments made by the Prosecution to Defense witness DCT-097. The Defense argued that under Rule 68, the Prosecution has an ongoing obligation to provide the Defense with potentially exculpatory material. The Defense argued that the Prosecution had failed to meet the Rule 68 disclosure requirements by failing to provide information about a statement made by DCT-097 to Global Witness in 2001 and an accounting of an estimated $30,000 transferred by the Prosecution to DCT-097 from 2004 to 2006. Once the Defense had disclosed the name of DCT-097 to the Prosecution in May 2010, Counsel for the Accused argued, the Prosecution should have disclosed the information immediately. The Prosecution eventually disclosed nine statements or communications related to DCT-097, but did not disclose anything regarding the Global Witness statement or the payments.

According to the Defense, the Witness claimed that a Global Witness employee had interviewed him in 2001 about his involvement in trading diamonds for the RUF in Monrovia during the Sierra Leone conflict. He had allegedly told Global Witness that the RUF was not trading diamonds with Taylor or the Liberian government, even though this is what Global Witness hoped DCT-097 would confirm. Purportedly, the same Global Witness employee who had interviewed him in 2001 later approached him for the SCSL Prosecution in 2004. The Witness told the Defense that the Prosecution wanted him to corroborate statements from other sources that he was the main person who delivered diamonds to Taylor. He also said that he was paid $1200 a month by the Prosecution during the period he was being interviewed by the Prosecution. The allowance, paid in cash or by MoneyGram, was ostensibly paid for general “upkeep.” The Witness told the Defense that in 2006, the Prosecution told him he was not giving them what they needed and subsequently stopped the payments. The Defense told the Court it had received copies of seventeen MoneyGram receipts showing payments from five different Prosecution employees to the Witness in sums such ranging from $800 to $2000.[44] 

According to a previous decision in the Taylor trial, the Defense must meet the following test before the Trial Chamber will order disclosure from the Prosecution:

1)      Identify the material sought with the requisite specificity;

2)      Make a prima facie showing of the exculpatory or potentially exculpatory character of the materials requested;

3)      Make a prima facie showing of the Prosecution’s custody or control of the materials requested; and

4)      Show that the Prosecution has in fact failed to disclose the targeted exculpatory materials.[45]

The Defense argued that the requested materials were exculpatory, as they tended to prove that Taylor was not connected with RUF diamond trading and that the Prosecution must have them in its control. The Defense also posited that since the Prosecution purportedly contacted DCT-097 on the basis of the Global Witness statement, the Prosecution must have the statement in its custody or control, or at least be familiar with the contents of the statement. Moreover, the Defense averred that the payments to the Witness impacted the credibility and reliability of the Witness statements disclosed by the Prosecution. To support this position, the Defense pointed to an admission from former Prosecutor Stephen Rapp indicating that information about payments made to Witnesses may affect the credibility of evidence.[46] It also noted a decision by the ICTR stating that information about benefits paid to witnesses “beyond that which is reasonably required” for witness management purposes has a “different character” and should be disclosed as evidence that may affect the credibility of witnesses.[47]

Opposing the Defense motion, the Prosecution maintained that it had fully discharged its disclosure duty under Rule 68. The Prosecution denied having the material in its possession, and claimed to be unaware that any such material existed. Defense allegations that the Global Witness statement must have prompted the Prosecution to contact DCT-097 in the first place were mere speculation, Prosecutors argued. The Prosecution noted that DCT-097 had never been a Prosecution witness. The Prosecution further contended that the Defense motion failed to establish that the information it sought was exculpatory or potentially exculpatory.

In a reply, the Defense alleged that the Prosecution’s arguments were “a blatant attempt . . . to use semantics in order to evade its responsibility to disclose exculpatory information.”[48] The reply noted that the Prosecution had not denied knowledge of the statement nor had it denied making payments to DCT-097. Rather, the Defense suggested, the Prosecution relied on narrow definitions of what it was required to disclose. The Defense argued that DCT-097 was in fact a Prosecution witness, albeit one that the Defense intended to call to testify in the Taylor trial. “[T]he fact that the Defense now intends to call a witness who has also been considered a Prosecution witness does not relieve the Prosecution of its obligation to disclose materials.”[49] Although the Defense accepted that the Prosecution bore no formal affirmative obligation to search out exculpatory material, Counsel for the Accused argued that the Prosecution should strive to obtain such information or inform the Defense of its existence. The Defense argued, “[G]iven the demonstrated level of cooperation between Global Witness and the Prosecution in investigating the conflicts in West Africa, the Prosecution is clearly better placed than the Defense to obtain this Statement from Global Witness.”[50] In support of its reply, the Defense submitted an email sent to the Defense by Global Witness, stating that Global Witness no longer had the requested information and therefore could not provide it to the Defense.[51]

The Trial Chamber granted the Defense motion in part. The Chamber ruled that the Prosecution must disclose information relating to payments made by the OTP to DCT-097. However, the Chamber also held that the Prosecution was not obligated to disclose the alleged statement made by the Witness to Global Witness. The Chamber found that there was evidence that suggested the Prosecution had been in contact with DCT-097 when he was a potential Prosecution witness. The Court noted that Rule 68(B) does not limit disclosure of exculpatory materials relating only to Prosecution witnesses, but is broader. The Court concluded that the Defense failed to make a prima facie showing that the Global Witness statement existed, or that the alleged statement met the other elements of the test for mandated disclosure. Adopting the view of the ICTR in Karemera, the Court found that since the Prosecution did not contest the contents of the cited money transfers and the funds were transferred by Prosecution employees, the Prosecution should have disclosed information about the transfers to the Defense.[52]

e.       Defense Motion to Exclude Evidence Outside the Jurisdiction of the Court

In another motion during this reporting period, the Defense objected to evidence falling outside the temporal scope of the Indictment and/or the jurisdiction of the Court (“ex-temporal evidence”) and evidence falling outside the geographical jurisdiction of the Special Court (“ex-territorial evidence”). The Defense considered the “ex-temporal” and “ex-territorial” evidence introduced by the Prosecution to be irrelevant, not in the interests of justice and in violation of Article 17 of the SCSL Statute and Rule 95 of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence.[53] The Defense acknowledged that such evidence can provide “context” for alleged crimes, but argued that in the Taylor case there was “so much evidence outside the scope of the Indictment . . . that it amounts to prejudice of such a nature that it far outweighs any probative value of such evidence.”[54] Accordingly, the Defense requested that the Trial Chamber exclude or limit consideration of evidence falling outside the scope of the indictment.

The Prosecution responded that the motion amounted to an improper and untimely request for reconsideration of Defense objections the Chamber had already overruled during the Prosecution case-in-chief. According to the Prosecution, the Defense was obliged either to object at the earliest opportunity, or to demonstrate that Taylor’s ability to defend himself has been materially impaired. The Prosecution argued that the contested evidence did not materially impair Taylor’s Defense, as the Defense was aware of the Prosecution’s intention to lead ex-temporal and ex-territorial evidence from the beginning of the trial. Prevailing international jurisprudence, Prosecutors argued, routinely allows ex-territorial and ex-temporal evidence to prove the actus reus of the criminal conduct, the mens rea of the Accused, and the chapeau requirements of Articles 2, 3 and 4 of the Statute, as well as to provide context for the offences. The Prosecution further argued that the volume of the disputed type of evidence was not valid grounds for exclusion. Because the burden of proof rests with the Prosecution, and because the crime-base and most other matters in the Indictment remain disputed by the parties, the Prosecution argued that the case was justifiably voluminous.

The Defense replied that the Prosecution failed to grasp the essence of the original complaint, which argued that the total amount of the disputed evidence violates Rule 95 and the Accused’s fair trial rights of Article 17. Regarding the Prosecution’s timeliness argument, the reply noted that the Defense had continuously raised objections to the disputed type of evidence throughout the trial. In any event, the Defense averred, there was nothing in the Rules or in international jurisprudence suggesting that the motion should have been filed at the end of the Prosecution case. The Defense refuted Prosecution claims that the objections in the motion were inadequately specific. The Defense further argued that international jurisprudence clearly identifies probative value and prejudice, in addition to relevance, as factors that should be taken into account when assessing evidence. The Defense tried to distinguish this case from others, arguing that none of the international jurisprudence cited by the Prosecution dealt with a case with such an excessive amount of ex-territorial or ex-temporal evidence as the Prosecution had introduced in Taylor.

The Trial Chamber dismissed the Defense motion, calling it premature. According to the Judges, these were matters to be determined at the end of trial after having considered the total amount of admitted evidence. The Court found that the issues would be more appropriately addressed in the parties’ final briefs and closing arguments.

f.        Defense Motion Requesting Investigation into Contempt of Court by the OTP and its Investigators

The final Defense motion raised during this reporting period alleged abuse of process for the way the Prosecution has conducted its investigations. The motion requested an independent investigation into the OTP and its investigators.[55] The Defense alleged that the OTP had brought the administration of justice into disrepute, and should be held in contempt of the SCSL. The Defense cited an SCSL Appeals Chamber holding that the standard for an independent investigation into contempt is: “[. . .] not that of a prima facie case, which is the standard for committal for trial. It is the different and lower standard of ‘reason to believe’ that an offence may have been committed, which is the pre-condition for ordering an independent investigation.” [56] Citing confidential affidavits,[57] the Defense declared that that there is reason to believe an offence may have been committed, and alleged that the Prosecutor, including David Crane and all of his successors, are responsible for having:

1)      Assaulted a suspect and/or potential witness or source;

2)      Exerted undue pressure by threatening, intimidating, or harassing suspects, witnesses, potential witnesses or sources (“undue pressure”); and

3)      Offered and/or provided improper, unjustifiable or undue payments, benefits or other incentives, including relocation, to witnesses, potential witnesses or sources (“improper inducements”).[58]

The Defense argued that the alleged misconduct throws all of the Prosecution’s evidence into doubt and has impinged upon Taylor’s rights to a fair trial.

In response, the Prosecution argued that the motion was untimely, failed to establish that there was reason to believe the Prosecution or members of the OTP had committed any of the alleged offences, and amounted to nothing more than an attempt to delay the proceedings. The Prosecution disagreed with the Defense on the standard for determining whether an independent investigation into contempt should be ordered. According to the Prosecution, the allegations must be credible[59] and the party requesting an investigation has a duty to raise the issue without undue delay.[60] The Prosecution further suggested that the Court should evaluate the sworn affidavits relied upon by the Defense, taking into consideration the character and bias of the persons giving the statements. The Prosecution attacked the credibility of the affidavits, arguing that the Defense allegations “are based on the statements of admitted liars and a person with an ongoing financial relationship with the Accused; speculation; a misrepresentation of WMU’s mandate; matters already subjected to cross-examination; inaccuracies, and irrelevant documentation.”[61]

The motion remained under consideration by the Trial Chamber during this reporting period.

g.      Legal Issues Arising During Testimony of DCT-008

During DCT-008’s cross-examination, the Defense objected to the introduction of various pieces of Prosecution evidence.

    i.    Defense Objection to Admission of Satellite Images and a Hand-Drawn Diagram

During cross-examination, the Prosecution sought to question Witness DCT-008 using four satellite images taken from Google Earth, along with a sketched diagram. The Defense objected that the documents lacked relevance to the indictment period, that the source of the documents was unknown and that the two images had been marked outside Court. The Defense also argued that the sketch did not include a reference of scale, and was therefore confusing to the Witness.

The documents were relevant to impeach the witness on matters of geographic testimony, the Prosecution argued. The Prosecution argued that the markings made outside Court were done by the OTP, and were therefore permissible, and denied that the sketch was confusing. The Court overruled the Defense  objections. The Bench held that, since the Witness had already commented on the satellite images, they formed part of his testimony. The Court did not consider that the sketch was confusing, but agreed to give due weight to the points raised by the Defense when assessing the witness’ answers under cross-examination.

    ii.    Prosecution Application for Disclosure of Witness Statements of Witness DCT-008

As it has with past Defense witnesses, the Prosecution applied for disclosure of all of DCT-008’s six witness statements. The Prosecution argued the statements should be disclosed because “this witness’s testimony has basically been re-invented since the summary disclosed on . . . 12 of May of this year.”[62] Both the Defense and the Prosecution reiterated arguments previously raised throughout the trial on this matter.[63] As with previous motions on the issue, the Trial Chamber dismissed the application.[64]

    iii.   Defense Objection to Prosecution Use of a Video during Cross-Examination

During the cross-examination of DCT-008, the issue of “fresh evidence” arose again.[65] In order to impeach both the Witness’ and Taylor’s testimony on the 1995 NPFL disarmament program, the Prosecution sought permission to show video footage in Court. A text transcript of the video had been previously admitted into evidence, but the video had not been previously shown in court. The Defense objected on the grounds that this amounted to “fresh evidence” not merely offered for impeachment. The Defense argued that the video went beyond the scope of the Witness’ testimony, seeking to prove  the guilt of the Accused by evincing a consistent pattern of conduct.

The Judges refused to allow the Prosecution to show the video footage in Court. According to the Bench, there was nothing to be gained from showing the video. According to the Judges, if the Prosecution wanted to impeach the Witness’ testimony, it was possible for the Prosecution to read the text to him instead of showing the video.

5.       Witness Testimony

a.      Naomi Campbell

The Prosecution’s 92nd witness, Campbell testified on August 5, 2010. Her testimony lasted approximately an hour and a half, and was the subject of intense media scrutiny.

Campbell testified that she met Taylor at a dinner she attended at Nelson Mandela’s home in September 1997. She claimed that Taylor arrived after the other guests had started dinner, and that he engaged in general conversation with the table, explaining to the guests who he was and where he was from. Campbell said that at the time, she had never heard of Taylor or the country of Liberia. Campbell claimed that after retiring early to her room, she was awoken by two men she did not know who came to her room. Campbell claimed that she did not know who the two men were, that they did not introduce themselves to her and that she never learned who they were. The two men allegedly said, “A gift for you,” and gave Campbell a pouch, which she put next to her bed without looking inside. Campbell testified that she first looked inside the pouch the following morning, at which time she discovered what she described as “a few stones . . . very small, dirty looking stones.”[66] The Witness told the Judges that she did not know who the gift was from—either at that time or later. Campbell claimed that she did not ask the men why they were giving her the stones because she gets “gifts given to [her] all the time at any hour of the night.”[67]

She explained, “the next morning, at breakfast, I told Ms. Farrow and Ms. White what had happened, and one of the two said, ‘Well, that’s obviously Charles Taylor,’ and I just said, ‘Yeah, I guess it was.’”[68] The Witness claimed that either Farrow or White (she could not recall which) told her the stones were diamonds, but Campbell told the Court she did not remember showing them the stones. She testified that she assumed that the conjecture was correct—that the stones were diamonds from Charles Taylor. When asked by the Presiding Judge what she thought the stones were, Campbell replied:

They were kind of dirty looking pebbles. They were not – they were dirty. I don’t know. I find when I’m used to seeing diamonds, I’m used to seeing diamonds shiny and in a box, you know. That’s the kind of diamonds I’m used to seeing. So I’ve never seen – if someone hadn’t said they were diamonds I wouldn’t have guessed right away that they were diamonds.[69]

Campbell testified that after breakfast, she took the stones to a trusted friend by the name of Jeremy Ractliffe (then-head of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund) so that he could “do something” with the stones. Campbell testified that she “did not want them.”[70]

During cross-examination, the Defense suggested that it was “pure speculation” that the diamonds had come from Taylor. Campbell confirmed that she simply assumed the gift was from Taylor, based on Farrow or White’s suggestion that this was the case. The Defense then focused on gathering information to impeach the anticipated testimony of Farrow and White. Using notes from prior Prosecution interviews with the other witnesses, Counsel for the Accused asked Campbell for her own version of details. Campbell refuted several points in White’s version of events. According to Campbell, she was alone in her room when the men delivered the diamonds, not with White. Campbell confirmed speaking with Taylor during dinner, but denied that she sat next to him, and testified that she had not given Taylor her phone number. As for White’s claim that Campbell and Taylor had flirted during the dinner, Campbell called this and every other major narrative discrepancy “a lie.” The Defense repeatedly mentioned the current legal dispute between White and Campbell. When asked whether White was a woman with “a powerful motive to lie about” Campbell, the Witness answered in the affirmative.[71] Campbell further denied that she showed Farrow and White the diamonds or told them about their size.

During re-examination, the Prosecution asked Campbell why she had previously declined to make public comments about the alleged gift. Campbell responded that she had been afraid for her family. The Prosecution also asked Campbell whether fear of the Accused led her to deliver testimony that was not entirely true. The Defense objected, arguing that the Prosecution could not impeach its own witness. The Presiding Judge agreed, prompting the Prosecution to state for the record that for practical purposes it considered Campbell a witness of the Court, not a Prosecution witness, because the Prosecution had not had any contact with Campbell before her appearance in Court. Justice Sebutinde responded that as Campbell was subpoenaed at the Prosecution’s request, she was in fact a Prosecution witness. 

b.      Mia Farrow

The 93rd Prosecution witness, actress Mia Farrow, testified for approximately three and a half hours on August 9, 2010. She had also been present at the Mandela charity dinner in 1997, and testified about Campbell’s declaration that she had received a diamond from Charles Taylor. Farrow’s account differed substantially from Campbell’s with respect to the number and size of diamonds received and the question of whether Campbell’s knew who they came from.

Farrow testified that when she arrived, Graca Machel, Mandela’s then-girlfriend, told her that Farrow did not want to be photographed with Charles Taylor. Machel reportedly told Farrow that Taylor should not have been a guest at the dinner. Farrow told the Court that the morning after the dinner, Campbell told Farrow and others at breakfast that she had “been awakened, [by] some men [who] were knocking at the door and they had been sent by Charles Taylor and they . . . had given her a huge diamond.”[72] According to Farrow, Campbell said the gift was a single large diamond as opposed to several small diamonds. Farrow admitted that Campbell had never shown her the gift, but claimed that the suggestion that the diamond had come from Taylor was entirely Campbell’s. “Naomi Campbell said they came from Charles Taylor,” Farrow told the Court.[73] Further contradicting Campbell’s testimony, Farrow testified that Campbell told Farrow and White about the diamond and about her intention to donate it at the same time.

In cross-examination, the Defense highlighted Farrow’s inability to recall a number of details asked of her, as well as Farrow’s lack of personal knowledge about the events at issue. Farrow acknowledged that she was not present with Campbell when the men arrived to present the gift, did not know the men’s nationalities or identities, did not know what country the diamond or diamonds had come from, and could not say why someone would send such a gift to Campbell. The Defense challenged Farrow’s testimony that the gift was a single large diamond, pointing out that both Campbell and White indicated that there were multiple small diamonds, and contemporaneous news reports stating that Jeremy Ractliffe (director of Mandela’s charity) had received three small diamonds from Campbell. However, Farrow stood by her account, telling the Court:

There could have been dozens. I don’t know how many diamonds there were or what state they were in because I didn’t see them. I can only tell you, and I swear on the Bible as I have to this Court and beyond, those – that is what Naomi Campbell said that morning at breakfast.[74]

The Defense concluded its cross-examination by attempting to portray Farrow as biased against Taylor. The Defense questioned Farrow on her position as a UNICEF goodwill ambassador focusing on children impacted by armed conflict in Africa. Farrow responded that her focus was on Sudan, Chad and the Central African Republic, not Liberia and Sierra Leone, but admitted that she has publicly made statements about ridding the African continent of impunity. The Judges also had questions for the Witness, including a question from Justice Sebutinde whether Farrow got the idea of a “huge diamond” from having seen the moving “Blood Diamond.” Farrow responded that no, the movie had not influenced her memory of what Campbell had said and explained again that Campbell had told her about a single diamond.

c.       Carole White

Finally, the 94th Prosecution witness, Carole White, testified on August 9 and 10, 2010 for approximately four hours. Like Farrow’s account, White’s testimony differed considerably from Campbell’s. She testified that she had been the main agent of Naomi Campbell and had accompanied Campbell to South Africa in 1997. She said she stayed either immediately next door or one door down from Campbell during their stay at Mandela’s guesthouse. The Witness claimed that she met Taylor at the dinner and was seated three persons down from him, with Campbell directly next to Taylor. According to White, Campbell had told her that Graca Machel was annoyed that Taylor had been invited to dinner. White claimed that at some point during the dinner, Campbell leaned back and told her Taylor was going to give Campbell some diamonds. Taylor was purportedly smiling and nodding in agreement when Campbell said this. White also testified that Campbell and Taylor were mildly flirting during the dinner. After the dinner, she said that Campbell and Taylor’s defense minister, whom White testified was also a dinner gust, discussed how to get the diamonds to Campbell. According to White, two men were to collect the diamonds from Johannesburg (a couple of hours away from the President’s residence in Pretoria), and bring the diamonds to the guesthouse. White claimed that Campbell was very excited about receiving the diamonds. She reportedly waited in the lounge of the guesthouse with White until about 10:00 p.m., at which point Campbell received a text message or a phone call that the men were nearly there. However, after checking the garden outside twice, the men had still not arrived, so Campbell and White went up to bed. White claimed that, after she left Campbell in her room, White heard someone throwing pebbles at her window. White discovered two men outside her window, asking to be let in so they could give something to Campbell. White testified that she was hesitant to let them in because the house was quiet and there were no sentries or servants around. Instead, she went to tell Campbell about the men. Campbell “really wanted to let them in,” according to White, so the two women reportedly unbolted the doors together and let the men into the lounge.[75] White testified that she and Campbell offered the men Coca-Cola and sat with them in the lounge, where they took out a “scruffy paper” that contained five or six diamonds.[76] Soon after, the men left and Campbell and White went back to bed. White testified that she was quite worried about the gift because she knew it was illegal to carry diamonds from South Africa out of the country, and supposed that she would be the person carrying the diamonds, not Campbell.

The next morning, according to White, she and Campbell discussed donating the diamonds to Mandela’s children’s charity. She said that Campbell “eventually agreed” to donate them, and that Campbell later gave the diamonds to Jeremy Ractliffe once on board the Blue Train, which was taking its inaugural trip.[77] She said she did not know how many diamonds Campbell gave to Ractliffe, and that Ractliffe “was quite shocked and looked quite horrified” upon receiving the diamonds.[78] White claimed that Ractliffe initially refused to take the diamonds, but later reluctantly accepted them after Campbell and White insisted.

The Defense’s cross-examination focused on the discord between White and Campbell, attempting to discredit her testimony by demonstrating that she was biased against Campbell. Near the start of the cross-examination, the Prosecution objected, arguing that the tone and level of voice of lead Defense Counsel Courtenay Griffiths, QC, was harassing and disrespectful to the Witness. The Presiding Judge cautioned him to keep his tone down. Griffiths questioned White about an alleged “blood diamond” party at her office on the night of Campbell’s testimony, and showed Facebook pages of White’s employees discussing the testimony. White denied that the party had been themed a “blood diamond” party and said she did not know anything about the Facebook commentary. The Defense also questioned her extensively on her contract dispute with Campbell, suggesting to White that she had a powerful motive to lie about Campbell—to provide ammunition to help White in her lawsuit against Campbell. White denied that this was true, and denied that she had come forward with information about the dinner in South Africa for personal gain. White testified that she did not see how the “blood diamond” issue would be relevant to her contractual dispute.

Moreover, the Defense questioned White’s account of how two large men could have entered Mandela’s compound in the middle of the night, given that there must have been significant security surrounding the then-president’s grounds. White answered that she had no idea of how they had gotten inside the compound, but that it was a question she had asked herself. The Defense suggested that, since Taylor was not in fact staying in the compound, perhaps the two men were not from Liberia at all, but rather were with other guests from the dinner. The Witness said that the men did not specifically say they were bearing a gift from the Liberian President, only that they said they had a gift for Campbell. Griffiths frequently accused White of lying, including about her statement that Taylor and Campbell had been flirting during dinner. The Defense confronted the witness with inconsistent details in her prior statements to the Prosecution, and questioned her about why her account differed significantly from Campbell’s. Nevertheless, White consistently stuck to her story on the stand, and denied all suggestions that she was lying or embellishing her testimony.

Under re-examination, the Prosecution asked White whether it was true that Campbell would lose as much as White could possibly win in the current contract lawsuit between them. White answered in the affirmative. The Prosecution likely wanted to demonstrate that if the lawsuit were a motive for White to lie in the Taylor trial, it would be an equal motive for Campbell to lie as well. The Prosecution also noted that White had never stated in her testimony that the two men were Liberians, countering a point made by Defense in cross-examination.

d.      DCT-172 (Issa Sesay) 

Following the days of testimony by Campbell, Farrow and White, the Court returned to the Defense witness list, calling DCT-172, Issa Hassan Sesay, back to the stand. The nineteenth Defense witness, Sesay acted as RUF’s interim leader from May 2000 until the end of the conflict in 2002. In February 2009, he was convicted for 16 out of the 18 charges he faced at the Special Court for Sierra Leone.[79] He is currently serving a 52-year sentence in a Rwandan prison. He testified in Krio. His direct examination continued from testimony heard in July. Under direct examination, Sesay testified about the nature and extent of RUF contacts with the Accused, Taylor’s involvement with the peace process in Sierra Leone, conflicts between RUF and Guinean forces, sources of RUF munitions, and RUF leadership during the 1999 invasion of Freetown.  

    i.     RUF Contacts with Taylor

Defense Counsel began by asking Sesay to respond to Prosecution witness TF1-338 who had testified that, after the Lome Peace Accords, RUF leader Foday Sankoh stopped in Monrovia to meet with Taylor on his way back to Sierra Leone. According to TF1-338, Sankoh and several RUF members accompanying him (Sam Bockarie included) met Taylor twice. During one of the meetings, Taylor allegedly thanked Bockarie for having “maintained the RUF until Foday Sankoh’s return” and for having “secured Foya and Voinjama from the LURD rebels.”[80] Sesay acknowledged that Bockarie had indeed traveled to Monrovia, but never told Sesay of any meeting with Taylor. Sesay also denied TF1-338’s allegations that RUF troops fought on Taylor’s behalf in Foya and Voinjama in 1999:

How could Charles Taylor thank Bockarie for securing Voinjama and Foya when he was not there. Charles Taylor had his own troops, he had his own army that were in Voinjama and Foya.[81]

Sesay also strongly denied TF1-338’s allegations that Bockarie and Sesay had traveled to Monrovia together sometime in 1998-1999, carrying diamonds for Taylor, unbeknownst to RUF diamond miners. According to Sesay, during that time he sent all the mined diamonds to Bockarie, who used some of them “to send food supplies and used clothing, medicine, provision, bales of clothing and plastic sandals to the miners.”[82]

The Defense also asked Sesay to respond to TF1-338’s testimony about two alleged meetings with Taylor in Liberia in May 2000. According to TF1-338, the first visit was motivated by Taylor’s interest in Sankoh’s situation, while the second concerned the release of the UNAMSIL personnel in RUF custody. The Prosecution witness had testified that Taylor was interested in the release of the UNAMSIL personnel because he “had . . . been promised that if he spearheaded the release of the UN peacekeepers he would be made the ECOWAS chairman.”[83] Taylor allegedly initiated a bargain with Sesay, telling him that if he secured the release of the hostages, Taylor would also return the favor and support the RUF “in the struggle” with “anything that [Sesay] asked for.[84]

Sesay denied TF1-338’s allegations, insisting that he only met with Taylor once in May 2000, and that Taylor’s interest in the meeting was only motivated by his desire to see the UNAMSIL personnel released. He further denied having been informed of the possibility of Taylor becoming the Chairman of ECOWAS, or of Taylor’s interest in Sankoh’s fate. Instead, he told the Court:

[Taylor] said this is a very big disappointment on the part of Mr. Sankoh, he said, because this has brought a setback to the Lome Accord and that people in the rest of the world, like America, England, he said the things that were happening, they thought Charles Taylor had hands in them. But he said there was a God that knew that he was innocent and had no hands in it and he said this was the worst thing Mr. Taylor could – Mr. Sankoh could ever do in his life.[85]

By contradicting previous testimony that depicted him as Taylor’s acolyte, Sesay strengthened the Defense’s position that Taylor’s interactions with him were solely for the purpose of bringing peace to Sierra Leone and to the region. He further told the Court that some RUF fighters capitalized on the Prosecution’s interest in a potential association between RUF leaders and Taylor, knowing that they would be paid as witnesses for the Prosecution if their testimonies were supportive of the Prosecution’s case. Sesay’s testimony thus suggests that Prosecution insider witnesses lied in order to receive benefits from the OTP.

    ii.  Taylor’s Involvement in the Peace Process

Sesay supported Taylor’s claims that his interactions with the RUF were motivated solely by his cooperation with ECOWAS to bring peace to Sierra Leone. However, the Prosecution has maintained that Taylor’s commitment to the peace process was a lie, and that when Sesay became interim leader of the RUF, he received instructions from Taylor not to disarm to UN peacekeepers. Sesay dismissed these claims as fabrications, insisting that Taylor played an important role in brokering the peace in Sierra Leone. 

    iii.  Conflicts Between RUF and Guinean Forces

Sesay also addressed the armed conflicts between the RUF and Guinean forces from 1998 to 2000. A Prosecution witness and former RUF member, Abu Keita, had previously told the Court that the RUF’s attacks in Guinea were initiated at Taylor’s request, as Taylor wanted to see then-Guinean President, Lansana Conté, unseated. Keita had testified that:

Issa Sesay told us  . . . that ex-President Charles Taylor had given him that mission to launch an attack against Lansana Conte in Guinea . . . [and] had given him the arms, ammunition, together with the RPG bombs, to go and fight in Guinea to overthrow Lansana Conte.[86]

Sesay denied having received any instructions from Taylor, insisting that the RUF was acting in its own defense after Guinean forces had repeatedly invaded RUF-held territory in Kailahun. Sesay also attacked Keita’s credibility, telling the Court that, to his knowledge, Keita fabricated stories against Taylor after receiving assurances from the Prosecution team that he and his family would be sent abroad and given money. When the Prosecution’s promises failed, Keita allegedly attempted to initiate legal action against the Prosecutor of the Special Court.

    iv. Captured UN Army Materials

Sesay testified that when the RUF detained hundreds of UN peacekeepers in 2000, the group also captured arms, ammunition, vehicles and communication equipment. A Prosecution witness testified in 2008 that some of the weapons were taken across the border to Liberia and given to Taylor. Prosecution witness TF1-375 testified that he personally witnessed some of the weapons being handed to Benjamin Yeaten, who was then Special Security Services (SSS) Director in Taylor’s government. TF1-375 also said he was there when Yeaten requested the weapons from Sesay to help the NPFL fight the Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD), a revolutionary group assembled with the goal of unseating Taylor’s government. Sesay contradicted TF1-375’s account on three fronts. First, he insisted that all the weapons captured alongside the UN peacekeepers were handed back to UN forces before disarmament. Second, he told the Court that his contacts with Benjamin Yeaten took place when the RUF was no longer a combatant group in Sierra Leone, and therefore he could not have had any interest in obtaining weapons and ammunition. Third, he denied that in the aftermath of the RUF’s detention of UN peacekeepers he was the one who initially contacted Taylor vis-à-vis a call to Yeaten on a satellite phone (or radio). Instead, he reiterated that it was Taylor who asked to meet with him and discuss the release of UN peacekeepers.

It should be noted that, on the second point, Sesay’s testimony was relatively clouded. Initially, he told the court that he had no contact with Yeaten in 2000, but only in 1999. Later, however, he admitted that he made several trips to Liberia in 2000, and did not specifically deny having met Yeaten during those trips:

Q. According to the evidence of this witness, Mr. Sesay, from 2000 you made about four trips from Benjamin Yeaten to the RUF, which you were leader of at the time, and delivered ammunition.

A. Well, I did not make trips to collect ammunition. I made about five to six trips to Liberia when I was interim leader. But from the – during all the times that I was going to Monrovia, I did not take ammunition to bring to the RUF, no.[87]

    v.  Attack on Freetown

Also during direct examination, Sesay refuted claims that Sam Bockarie acted as a message intermediary between Yeaten and AFRC rebel forces conducting the 1999 invasion of Freetown. Sesay maintained that this was the first instance he heard of Yeaten’s involvement in the Freetown invasion, telling the Judges:

I never heard about that, about Benjamin Yeaten’s involvement in the January 6 invasion in 1999, except in this courtroom . . . . Even during my trial, I did not hear such misinformation.[88]

Sesay further denied the veracity of testimony from a Prosecution witness (RUF signal commander Mohamed Kabbah, aka “Tourist”) who, in September 2008, suggested to the Court that Bockarie had ordered the destruction of Freetown during the 1999 invasion. The same Prosecution witness had also claimed that Yeaten had given orders to Bockarie during the Freetown attack, alluding to Taylor’s control over the operation. Sesay maintained his position that the men attacking Freetown were not answerable to Bockarie.

    vi. Conclusion of Direct Examination

Sesay concluded his direct examination by insisting that he has nothing to gain from testifying on Taylor’s behalf, except for clarifications on his own history as interim leader of the RUF. He testified:

I have nothing absolutely to gain. The reason why I came here is because I was in Freetown, I used to listen to radios in my cell room, the way of my fellow RUF have been exaggerating stories, lying against me, as a result of the disarm—that I have disarmed the RUF. That was the reason why I also decided to come here. But I have nothing absolutely to gain.[89]

    vii.                Cross-Examination

Under cross-examination, Sesay answered Prosecution questions about an arms and ammunition purchase in Burkina Faso by RUF leader; Foday Sankoh; the use of child soldiers; whether the conflict in Sierra Leone was properly characterized as a war about diamonds; the nature of the relationship between Taylor and Sankoh; RUF involvement in the 1999 attack on Freetown; alleged personal contacts between various RUF leaders and Taylor; conflicts between the RUF and Guinean forces; and Taylor’s alleged plan to kill Issa Sesay.

    a.    Arms and Ammunition Purchase in Burkina Faso by Sankoh

The Prosecution opened its cross-examination by inquiring about the RUF’s alleged purchase of arms and ammunition in Burkina Faso, which supposedly fueled the rebels’ attack on Koidu Town in the diamond rich area of Kono in December 1998, and which previous Prosecution witnesses have indicated was mediated by Taylor and transferred through Roberts International Airport in Liberia.[90]

Sesay told the Court that the only shipment received by the RUF during the junta regime was a shipment from Burkina Faso at Magburaka in October 1997. He testified that Sankoh bought the arms and ammunition before travelling to Nigeria (where he was subsequently arrested) and left them in General Diendere’s custody in Burkina Faso. According to Sesay, Sankoh alerted Bockarie to the upcoming shipment in a letter delivered by Gibril Massaquoi. The same letter supposedly also informed Bockarie that similar letters had been sent to Ibrahim Bah, to General Diendere in Burkina Faso and to Johnny Paul Koroma, who was to provide the money for the transportation of the purchased arms and ammunition. Sesay told the Court that Koroma took $90,000 out of a bank account to pay for two airplane deliveries of the arms and ammunition. However, Sesay said that only one delivery took place as the plane came under attack by Alpha Jets upon arrival in Sierra Leone, and did not return.

Discussing an attempted arms purchase around April 1998, Sesay testified that, after Bockarie placed Koroma under house arrest and confiscated the diamonds in his possession, he allegedly gave those diamonds to Sesay who was to travel with them to Burkina Faso, meet with General Diendere and purchase additional arms and ammunition. Sesay claimed that Ibrahim Bah was to meet him in Monrovia and facilitate the purchase with Diendere. However, Sesay testified that he lost the diamonds—which he said included a variety of industrial grade diamonds and only one valuable diamond of fourteen carats—on a stop in Monrovia on his way to Burkina Faso, and thus could not complete the purchase. The Prosecution suggested that this story was “ridiculous” and made no financial sense, but Sesay claimed that Bockarie was counting on Diendere’s friendship with Sankoh and the promise of diamonds to secure the purchase. The story of the lost diamonds is consistent with Sesay’s prior testimony in his own trial before the Special Court.

Regarding the weapons purchased for the 1998 attack on Kono, Sesay denied that Bockarie had purchased the weapons in Burkina Faso. Sesay claimed that Bockarie had traveled to Burkina Faso and other African states to discuss the possibility of revisiting the Abidjan Peace Accord. Sesay told the Court that the RUF had bought the arms and ammunition for the attack on Kono in Lofa, Liberia, from a ULIMO battalion commander and from Benjamin Yeaten. Sesay claimed it was this purchase that allowed for the successful attack on Kono, during which the RUF captured material and ammunition that allowed for further attacks on Magburaka, Makeni and Waterloo. Counsel for the Prosecution, however, noted that Sesay was the only witness in the Taylor trial to claim that the ammunition was bought in Lofa, and attempted to impeach Sesay by opposing his account of the events in the Taylor trial with his account of the events in his own trial:

Q. You claim in this trial that Sam Bockarie came back to Monrovia from Burkina Faso without any arms and ammunition. He landed in Roberts International Airport, according to you, without any arms and ammunition. Is that right?

A. That was what he told me, that the ammunition that he got—because they were not arms, they were ammunition. He said the ammunition that he had, he had bought from Lofa.    

Q. That’s something that you remember distinctly now, although you said four times in your own trial the ammunition came from Burkina Faso.[91]

In 2007, during his own trial, Sesay testified that Sam Bockarie had gone to Burkina Faso to get the arms and ammunition used in the attack on Kono. Sesay maintained his current version of events, repeating that he was testifying about the things he could recall. He explained that during his trial his recollection of the events was unclear, and that he had only realized the mistake after he testified, while reading the transcript. The Prosecution pressed the issue of the purchase in Lofa, asking Sesay how Bockarie knew the commanders in Lofa would have ammunition. Sesay responded that Bockarie knew that the commander was commander of an army and would therefore have ammunition. The Prosecution then pointed to Taylor’s testimony that the Liberian army did not have any arms or ammunition from the time he became president in 1997 until 2001. Nevertheless, Sesay stuck by his story that Bockarie bought the ammunition from Liberian armed forces in Lofa.

    b.    Child Soldiers

The Prosecution questioned Sesay extensively on the RUF’s recruitment and use of child soldiers, referring back to the testimony of former Sierra Leonean President Kabbah who testified that “the RUF, from the inception to the end of the war, used child soldiers extensively, and this was such a problem that [the Sierra Leonean government] decided to put up some building in Bo as a second city to Freetown where [they took care] of those child soldiers who had lost their parents or were afraid to go to their homes.”[92]  The Prosecution alleged that the RUF recruited children as young as ten years old and organized them in “Small Boys Units” (SBUs), a concept derived from NPFL troops at Camp Naama, who engaged in similar endeavors. While admitting that children around the age of 14 and 15 did indeed fight alongside RUF troops, Sesay consistently denied having seen children of younger ages within RUF ranks. He further told the Court that he first heard the term “SBU” in Sierra Leone and not in Liberia and that the children at Camp Naama only occasionally took part in military training. Lastly, he insisted that no drugs were distributed to the children in the RUF; instead, he told the Court that marijuana was common among the troops but not something that would be systematically distributed, and no other harder drugs were used.

    c.    RUF’s War—A War About Diamonds?

Sesay resisted Prosecution suggestions that the war in Sierra Leone was a war about diamonds. He told the Court that “[I]t was not a war about diamonds, because from 1991 to 1997, RUF was not mining diamonds. So it was not a war about diamonds. RUF was not occupying or controlling mining areas.”[93]

Sesay refuted allegations that he channeled Sierra Leone’s diamond resources to Liberia, further insisting that previous witnesses significantly inflated the value of the diamonds exploited by the RUF during the conflict. Sesay said:

These estimates that are being made, these are diamonds I never saw, these sorts of estimations. I’ve never seen such diamonds . . . . The mining that we were doing, we were getting small diamonds, and those are the diamonds that I’ve given account of . . . . [W]as RUF able to see such diamonds when the RUF was unable to buy new vehicles [and] I was buying used vehicles?[94]

Sesay further maintained that he used the diamonds mined in RUF-controlled areas to care for RUF members. Sesay also flatly denied Prosecution allegations that the RUF instituted a regime of forced labor in the diamond-rich areas, and killed some of the people who could not work as miners. According to Sesay, “the atmosphere . . . in Kono was nice” and “there was no harassment of civilians.”[95]

    d.    Sankoh-Taylor Connection

Counsel for the Prosecution spent two full days questioning Sesay on RUF leader Foday Sankoh’s relationship with Taylor, which, the Prosecution alleges, was closer than Taylor led the Court to believe. The Prosecution has maintained that Taylor and Sankoh first met in Libya, where they initiated and refined their plans to invade Liberia and Sierra Leone, respectively, and to support each other in their endeavors. The Prosecution further avers that Sankoh’s recruitment and training of RUF fighters at Camp Naama, Liberia, could not have happened without Taylor’s acquiescence and support. The Prosecution thus points out that some RUF recruits at Camp Naama were released from NPFL detention centers so that they could join the RUF.[96] Taylor has denied any knowledge of Sankoh’s recruitment efforts in Liberia. Under cross-examination, Sesay insisted that it was Sankoh who created the RUF, with the support of “Pa” Kallon (whose wife, Isatu Kallon testified for the Defense in July 2010). Sesay told the Court that while Sankoh referred to Taylor as his friend, he told recruits that he “was the leader for his own revolution.”[97]

Sesay did however offer testimony that contradicted Taylor’s account of his first interaction with Sankoh. According to Taylor, he never met Sankoh in Libya. Rather, Taylor told the Court, he initiated contact with the RUF leader when NPFL troops came under attack from ULIMO, which then had the support of the government of Sierra Leone. Taylor’s decision to contact Sankoh was, by his account, a strategic one, as he had realized that collaboration with the RUF might impede ULIMO’s attacks on the NPFL. Sesay gave a different account of Taylor’s first contact with Sankoh, explaining that, according to Sankoh, the two had first met in Libya in the late 1980s, and later reconnected in Liberia when both NPFL and RUF forces were training at Camp Naama. Sesay further indicated that the RUF’s invasion of Sierra Leone in March 1991 capitalized on the fighting between NPFL troops and the Sierra Leone Army (SLA) in Bomaru, Eastern Sierra Leone and the subsequent distraction of Sierra Leonean forces. He also admitted that NPFL fighters were part of the invading force in Sierra Leone. However, he corroborated Taylor’s testimony that, after the withdrawal of NPFL fighters from Sierra Leone in 1992, Taylor cut all contacts with the RUF until 1999, when peace talks were initiated.

    e.    Taylor’s Alleged Command of the RUF

In support of its allegation that Taylor controlled the RUF after Sankoh was jailed in Sierra Leone, the Prosecution questioned Sesay about whether Taylor promoted Sam Bockarie to the rank of General in the RUF. Several Prosecution witnesses have testified that Bockarie claimed Taylor had promoted him to General after returning from a trip to Liberia in 1998. This fact, the Prosecution averred, confirmed that Taylor was indeed the de facto leader of the RUF in Sankoh’s absence.

Sesay reiterated his direct examination testimony, in contravention of the Prosecution theory of RUF command structure. According to Sesay, it was Johnny Paul Koroma (the AFRC leader) who was regarded as the delegated leader of the RUF, after Sankoh instructed the troops that they should take their orders from Koroma. Notwithstanding Sesay’s account, Prosecution counsel pressed the issue of Bockarie’s promotion, confronting Sesay with pictures individually depicting Bockarie, Taylor’s former vice-president, Moses Blah, and Taylor’s former Special Security Services Director Benjamin Yeaten, all displaying their military honors (codified as stars) on their red berets. The Prosecution suggested that the stars indicated that they all belonged to the same military order, under Taylor’s command. Sesay disagreed with the suggestion, explaining that the uniforms and the berets were common in both Liberia and Sierra Leone, having been taken from ECOMOG soldiers, a common enemy force. When Counsel for the Prosecution pointed out that it was NPFL custom to display the rank stars on the berets, while Sierra Leoneans would wear them on their uniform, Sesay replied that, even though Bockarie had in fact been promoted by Koroma, he could have easily changed the display of his stars.

    f.    Attack on Freetown

Under direct examination, Sesay had denied that RUF troops participated in the 1999 attack on Freetown, or that the RUF had sent ammunition to support the attack. Sesay acknowledged that Bockarie intended for the RUF to be part of the attack, but as it turned out, AFRC leader Alex Tamba Brima (“Gullit”) refused to wait for RUF forces to arrive, and initiated the attack on his own. Sesay maintained his account of the events under cross-examination, telling the Court that Bockarie was initially reticent about supporting the AFRC’s attack on Freetown due to his dislike of AFRC commander Solomon James Musa (“SAJ Musa”). It was only after he found out that SAJ Musa was dead that Bockarie decided to send armed reinforcements to Gullit for the attack. However, Sesay told the Court, RUF troops did not reach Freetown in time, because ECOMOG forces stopped them at Waterloo. As the Defense had done during direct examination, the Prosecution confronted Sesay with a BBC radio clip narrating Freetown’s attack as being carried out by the “combined forces of the AFRC and RUF.”[98]  Sesay repeated his prior testimony that the operators were misguided in their observations. In fact, he testified, RUF troops were in Makeni at the time, not Freetown.

    g.    Meetings with Taylor

Prosecution counsel confronted Sesay with a letter allegedly authored by him and introduced into evidence during Taylor’s testimony. The letter—signed under the name “Essa Sesay”—deplored the RUF’s status at the time, namely the detention of the group’s leader, Foday Sankoh and constant attacks by UN troops. It also solicited Taylor’s participation in the peace process. Sesay denied having authored the letter, at which point Prosecution counsel suggested that it could have been written by Taylor’s men (the document belonged to the presidential archives) with the intention of using the Witness as a puppet. Sesay denied that he was used by the Liberian government, saying:

Nobody was using me. I don’t know about this letter, and I tell you nobody was using me, because the ECOWAS only used me for me to disarm people, and I did not reap any benefits, but the Liberian government did not use me.[99]

Prosecution counsel also attempted to impeach Sesay on his account of the number of meetings he had with Taylor in May 2000. Under direct examination, Sesay insisted that he had only met Taylor once in May 2000, after having been invited to Monrovia to discuss the potential release of UN peacekeepers. This account coincides with Taylor’s own account of the events. The Prosecution team, however, maintains that Sesay visited Taylor twice, purportedly returning to Sierra Leone after the second visit with a shipment of arms and ammunition. According to several Prosecution witnesses, Taylor provided Sesay with these arms and ammunition. The Prosecution confronted Sesay with testimony he gave in his own trial, when he said he travelled to Monrovia twice in May 2000. Sesay rectified the previous account, testifying in the Taylor trial that when he travelled to Liberia with the hostages (i.e., the second time) he actually stopped at Foya, never reaching Monrovia, or Taylor.

Sesay also testified that it was Taylor who suggested that Bockarie be allowed to return to Sierra Leone during a meeting they had in December 2000:

Q. And you remember Charles Taylor asking you to bring Sam Bockarie back to Sierra Leone to rejoin the RUF, correct?    

A. Yes. He said we were about making peace now and the peace process was underway, so as an organization it was nice for us to be together, so Sam Bockarie should return to the RUF.[100] 

This account directly contradicts Taylor’s account, where he testified that he never asked for Bockarie to be allowed back in the country. On the stand, Taylor indicated that he chose to stay out of the Bockarie controversy because a number of ECOWAS leaders regarded Bockarie as an impediment to the peace process and wanted him isolated from it.

    h.    Conflicts Between the RUF and Guinean Forces

Sesay denied Prosecution allegations that Yeaten provided the RUF with arms and ammunition to launch attacks in Guinea and Liberia against LURD forces. He insisted that, unlike RUF chief leader Sankoh in the early 1990s, Sesay did not fight Taylor’s enemies as interim leader. When Sesay clarified that the fighters who crossed the border into Liberia did so “on their own accord,” the Prosecution capitalized on the slip and inquired whether Sesay was in fact acknowledging that some RUF troops did cross into Liberia. Sesay replied:

Well, what I mean, when I asked them to disarm, the vanguards who refused, together with their bodyguards, they crossed over to Liberia. Even Superman, during the disarmament he crossed into Liberia. He said he was going back to his country. I could not force them. And during disarmament I was not in Kailahun, they used to cross over into Liberia. But to say that officially I organized men to send them to Liberia and fight, no.[101]

    i.    Daniel Tamba (“Jungle”) Connection Between Taylor and the RUF

Several Prosecution witnesses have identified Daniel Tamba (“Jungle”) as a focal link between the RUF and Taylor. Jungle allegedly mediated the diamonds-arms exchanges between Taylor and the RUF, travelling between Liberia and Sierra Leone with the respective loads. Prosecution counsel interrogated Sesay about Jungle’s status within the RUF and the NPFL, referring to him as “a very good friend” of the Witness. Sesay expressed surprise at suggestions that Jungle was a double agent, and told the Court that as far as he knew, since his crossing from Liberia into Sierra Leone into early 1990s, Jungle was a member of the RUF only, not splitting his allegiances with the NPFL:

Q. The RUF referred to him as a General because he was a very important person, he was the liaison between Charles Taylor and the RUF, correct?

A. No, Jungle was with the RUF for a long time. He was not a middle man.[102]

The Prosecution introduced evidence to challenge Sesay’s claims. The first piece of evidence was a list containing the names of Special Security Services (SSS) members assigned to Taylor’s Executive Mansion as part of his “Presidential Advance Team” which included the name Daniel Tamba. The second one was a photograph portraying both Benjamin Yeaten, the SSS Director in Taylor’s government, and Jungle. The Prosecution also introduced testimony from Defense witness John Vincent, who had said that Jungle crossed back and forth between Sierra Leone and Liberia, bringing ammunition with him to Sierra Leone. Even after being confronted with this evidence, Sesay maintained that Jungle was not a middleman between the RUF and the NPFL, insisting that Jungle was not bringing ammunition on Taylor’s orders but “foodstuff” from the Lebanese.

    j.    Taylor’s Alleged Plan to Kill Sesay

The Prosecution advanced the proposition that Taylor intended to eliminate Sesay because of his “unhappiness” over Sesay’s decision to disarm the RUF. The Prosecution drew an assassination plot inference from the testimony of Joseph “ZigZag” Marzah, who previously told the Court that Taylor had asked him to wait in Kailahun and kill Sesay on his way to Liberia for a meeting with Taylor. The plan allegedly failed when Sesay decided not to return to Liberia after becoming aware that Taylor wanted him to agree to Bockarie’s return to Sierra Leone (which Sesay supposedly feared because he thought Bockarie would kill him if Bockarie returned). Sesay told the Court that he did not know about the plan, nor did he believe that the allegations were true given Taylor’s manifest support for the peace process.

Concluding his testimony, Sesay denied Prosecution claims that his testimony was motivated by a hope for release. According to the Prosecution, Sesay holds hope that if Taylor is acquitted, he would come back into power in Liberia, and would subsequently use his political capital to achieve Sesay’s release from prison in Rwanda (where he is currently serving a fifty-two-year sentence). Sesay told the Court that he was fully cognizant of the fact that his appeal was final and Taylor’s influence over his future nonexistent. He told the Court:

Mr. Taylor is not a Sierra Leonean and has no influence or authority over the Government of Sierra Leone. He has no political authority in Sierra Leone. It’s only the people of Sierra Leone who can plead to the international community on my behalf, not Mr. Taylor. And the UN authorities who knew that I cooperated with them, that’s the only hope that I have after God. Not Mr. Taylor.[103]

e.       DCT-008

Following the conclusion of Issa Sesay’s testimony, DCT-008 took the stand. DCT-008 is a Liberian national who served as a radio operator in Charles Taylor’s Special Security Services (SSS) unit. He testified in Liberian English. This Witness, who claimed to have personal knowledge of communications between the SSS and the RUF, could undermine Prosecution allegations that Taylor commanded and assisted the RUF during the indictment period.

    i.         Radio Communication between Members of the SSS and the RUF

The Witness testified in detail about radio communication between Benjamin Yeaten’s SSS radio station Base One and the rebels in Sierra Leone from late 1998 to 2003, when the Witness served as a radio operator at Base One. The Witness stressed that the communication was the initiative of Benjamin Yeaten and Sam Bockarie and that Taylor did not know about it. Because of this secrecy, according to the Witness, Base One did not cooperate with government radio. Moreover, the Witness testified, neither Base One nor the RUF used the radio in the RUF’s Monrovia guesthouse (provided by the Liberian government) to communicate.

    ii.       Access to Taylor  The Witness also testified that the presidential residence was highly secured by the SSS and the Anti-Terrorist Unit (ATU). Moreover, the Witness stated that Yeaten’s bodyguards, including Joseph “ZigZag” Marzah and Sampson Wehyee, or radio operators such as the Witness himself, would have had very little access to then-President Taylor. This line of questioning could impeach the evidence of Prosecution witnesses such as Marzah, who claimed to have had direct access to Taylor.

    iii.                  Benjamin Yeaten Supporting the RUF

When asked about Yeaten allegedly supporting the RUF with ammunition and manpower on a regular basis in 1998 and 1999, the Witness responded that he only saw Yeaten selling ammunition to Bockarie once, in 1998. The Witness emphasized that he was told this deal was unknown to Taylor.

    iv.                 Sam Bockarie’s Departure from Sierra Leone and Death

The Witness testified about a confrontation between Sam Bockarie and Foday Sankoh that Base One operator “Sunlight” intercepted while monitoring the RUF radio network some time before Bockarie’s move to Liberia in December 1999. According to the Witness, Sunlight told him that Sankoh accused Bockarie of incitement, and told Bockarie that he had ordered Issa Sesay to become the new commander of the RUF. The Witness testified that shortly thereafter, Bockarie entered Liberia with a convoy of RUF fighters and his family.

Testifying about Bockarie’s death, the Witness claimed that in 2003 he heard about Taylor supposedly ordering Bockarie’s arrest as Bockarie was trying to enter Liberia with armed men. The Witness stated that he heard that Bockarie was killed as he resisted arrest. This testimony corroborates Taylor’s explanation of Sam Bockarie’s death.

    v.                   Cross-examination

The Prosecution conducted its cross-examination in a manner seemingly intended to provide doubt about the veracity of the Witness’ claim to have personal knowledge about the secret communication between Benjamin Yeaten and Sam Bockarie. The Prosecution suggested at various times that the Witness had completely changed his story after May 12, 2010, when it became apparent to the Witness that the intended complete denial of all allegations would no longer be credible. The Witness vehemently denied these accusations and attributed the discrepancies to fear for his personal security.

     a.    The Executive Mansion

Referring to the highly secured executive mansion, the Prosecution asked the Witness how RUF member Daniel Tamba, a.k.a. Jungle, could have entered the executive mansion without proper ID, and made secret radio communications to the RUF without being seen by anyone loyal to the President. The Prosecution suggested he was able to do these things because Jungle was in fact a member of the SSS. The Witness disagreed, maintaining that Jungle was not SSS and likely entered the executive mansion under the protective wings of Sampson.

The Prosecution asked the Witness in detail about the layout of the executive mansion. Counsel for the Prosecution pointed out several inconsistencies between the Witness’ answers and Taylor’s description of several floors. The Prosecution also read parts of Taylor’s testimony to the Witness in which Taylor told the Court that he had communicated with Bockarie by radio from White Flower. This statement contradicts the Witness’ testimony, denying that the executive mansion had a radio room. The Witness explained that he had answered the questions to the best of his knowledge.

     b.    Joining the NPFL and Child Soldiers

According to the Witness, Nimbadians, including himself, joined the NPFL in order to protect themselves against Samuel Doe’s government. In response, the Prosecution referred to the Witness’ previous statements, in which he claimed to have joined the NPFL out of revenge. The Witness denied changing his story and suggested that the Defense could have failed to write all of his statements down. The Witness further stated that no one in the NPFL was under the age of seventeen, and refuted claims that Charles Taylor used Small Boys Units for protection.


[1] Prosecutor v. Taylor, Case No. SCSL-03-01-1045, Decision on Defense Motion to Exclude Custodial Statements of Issa Sesay, 12 August 2010, pg. 4 [hereinafter “Sesay Decision”].

[2] Special Court for Sierra Leone, Statute, Article 17; Rules, Rule 95.

[3] Rules, Rule 77(A)(iv) and Rule 77(C)(iii).

[4] Taylor, Trial Transcript, 13 August 2010, pg. 62 – 3 (lines 10 – 29; lines 1 – 2).

[5] Applications for access to or disclosure of witness statements have been a frequent issue in the Taylor case. See e.g., Charles Taylor Monthly Trial Report (February 22, 2010 – March 31, 2010) pgs. 2- 4; Charles Taylor Monthly Trial Report (June 1, 2010 – June 30, 2010), pg. 3.

[6] The Judges addressed a similar issue previously; see for example Charles Taylor Monthly Trial Report (February 22, 2010 – March 31, 2010) pgs. 2- 5 (Allowing the requested disclosure of witness statements in one of three instances); Charles Taylor Monthly Trial Report (June 1, 2010 – June 30, 2010), pg. 3 (Ordering the disclosure of the Defense witness statement).

[7] Prosecutor v. Taylor, Case No. SCSL-03-01-1045, Decision on Defense Motion to Exclude Custodial Statements of Issa Sesay, 12 August 2010, pg. 4 [hereinafter “Sesay Decision”].

[8] Sesay Decision, pg. 4, citing Prosecutor v. Taylor; Case No. SCSL-03-01-T-865, Decision on Prosecution Motion in Relation to the Applicable Legal Standards Governing the Use and Admission of Documents by the Prosecution During Cross-Examination, 30 November 2009, para 23 [hereinafter “Decision on Documents”].

[9] Sesay Decision, pg. 1.

[10] Taylor, Case No. SCSL-03-01-1002, Prosecution Response to Defense Motion to Exclude Custodial Statements of Issa Sesay, 12 July 2010, para 27.

[11] Sesay Decision, pg. 5.

[12] Taylor, Trial Transcript, 13 August 2010, pg. 62 (lines 22 – 28); see also Taylor, Case No. SCSL-03-01-865, Decision on Prosecution motion in relation to the applicable legal standards governing the use and admission of documents by the Prosecution during cross-examination, 30 November 2009.

[13] Decision on Appeal, pgs. 5 – 6, citing Taylor, Trial Transcript, 13 August 2010, pg. 62 (lines 22 – 28).

[14] Prosecutor v. Taylor, Case No. SCSL-03-01-1050, Urgent Application for Leave to Appeal Decision Excluding the Use of Custodial Statements of Issa Sesay, 16 August 2010, para 14 [hereinafter “Prosecution Motion to Appeal Sesay Decision”].

[15] Prosecution Motion to Appeal Sesay Decision Annex A, Interview with Sesay 10 March 2003, pgs. 33 – 34.

[16] Id., pgs. 35 – 36.

[17] Id., pgs. 35, 36, 38, 39.

[18] Id., pgs. 35 and 36.

[19] Id., pgs. 29, 40, 43, 53.

[20] Prosecution Motion to Appeal Sesay Decision, para 15.

[21] Id.

[22] Prosecutor v. Taylor, Case No. SCSL-03-01-1055, Defense Response to Prosecution Urgent Application for Leave to Appeal Decision Excluding the use of Custodial Statement of Issa Sesay, 19 August 2010, paras 12 – 17 [hereinafter “Defense Response to Prosecution Motion to Appeal”].

[23] Id., paras 18 – 20.

[24] Id., para 21.

[25] Decision on Appeal, pg. 6.

[26] Decision on Documents, para 27.

[27] Id.

[28] Prosecutor v. Taylor, Case No. SCSL-03-01-T-1062, Decision on Urgent Application for Leave to Appeal Decision Excluding the Use of Custodial Statement of Issa Sesay, 25 August 2010, pg. 5 [hereinafter “Decision on Appeal”].

[29] Decision on Appeal, pg. 5.

[30] Id., pg. 7.

[31] Rules, Rule 92bis.

[32] Prosecutor v. Taylor, Case No. SCSL-03-01-1077, Decision on Public with Annex A Defense Motion for Admission of Document Pursuant to Rule 92bis – ICTJ Report on Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission, 16 September 2010, pg. 4, citing Prosecutor v. Norman et al., Fofana – Decision on Appeal Against ‘Decision on Prosecution’s Motion for Judicial Notice and Admission of Evidence, 16 May 2005, para 26.

[33] Prosecutor v. Taylor, Case No. SCSL-03-01-1060, Defense Motion for Admission of Document Pursuant to Rule 92bis – ICTJ Report on Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission, 25 August 2010, para 5 [hereinafter “Defense Motion for ICTJ Report”], citing  Prosecutor v. Taylor, Case No. SCSL-03-01-721, Decision on ‘Prosecution Notice of Appeal and Submissions Concerning the Decision Regarding the Tender of Documents’, 6 February 2009, para. 34; Prosecutor v. Taylor, Case No. SCSL-03-0 1-721, para 30-31. See also Taylor, Case No. SCSL-03-01-T-556, Decision on Prosecution Notice Under Rule 92bis for the Admission of Evidence Related to Inter Alia Kenema District and on Prosecution Notice Under Rule 92bis for the Admission of the Prior Testimony of TF1-036 Into Evidence, 15 July 2008, pg. 4.

[34] Paul James-Allen, Aaron Weah, and Lizzie Goodfriend, “Beyond the Truth and Reconciliation Commission: Transitional Justice Options in Liberia,” International Center for Transitional Justice, May 2010 [hereinafter ICTJ Report].

[35] In particular, the Defense notes that the report finds that the Liberian TRC report “lacks evidentiary lacks evidentiary data to support many of its claims and there are inadequate references to substantiate the information on which the conclusions are based”; “the absence of any explicit reference to these sources throughout the narrative makes it difficult to substantiate the validity of the report ‘s factual accounts”; and “factual information . . . is not always reliably referenced . . . .” Defense Motion for ICTJ Report, para 7, citing ICTJ Report pg. 14.

[36] Id., para 6.

[37] Id., para 16.

[38] Prosecutor v. Taylor, Case No. SCSL-03-01-1067, Prosecution Objection to Public with Annex A Defense Motion for Admission of Document Pursuant to Rule 92bis – ICTJ Report on Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission, 30 August 2010, para 9 [hereinafter “Prosecution Objection to ICTJ Report”].

[39] Id., para 5.

[40] Prosecution Objection to ICTJ Report, para 7. The Prosecution argued, “By definition a review and critique is the author’s opinion . . . the authors declare that the purpose of the ICTJ Report as a whole was to make proposals and suggestions – in other words provide opinions.”

[41] Prosecutor v. Taylor, Case No. SCSL-03-01-1077, Decision on Public with Annex A Defense Motion for Admission of Document Pursuant to Rule 92bis – ICTJ Report on Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission, 16 September 2010, pg. 4.

[42] Rules, Rule 94bis.

[43] Prosecutor v. Taylor, Case No. SCSL-03-01-1066, Public with Confidential Annex Prosecution Objections to Public with Confidential Annexes A, B, C and D Defense Motion for Admission of Documents Pursuant to Rule 92bis – Autopsy Report, 30 August 2010, para 6.

[44] For a complete list of the receipts the Defense claims it has on file, see Prosecutor v. Taylor, Case No. SCSL-03-01-1039, Defense Motion for Disclosure of Statement and Prosecution Payments Made to DCT-097, 4 August 2010, Annex F, [hereinafter “Defense Motion for DCT-097 Disclosures”].

[45] Id., para 15, citing Prosecutor v. Taylor, Case No. SCSL-03-01-770, Decision on Defense Motion Pursuant to Rules 66 and 68 for the Disclosure of Exculpatory Material in Redacted Witness Statements of Witnesses the Prosecution does not Intend to Call, 30 March 2009, para 13.

[46] Defense Motion for DCT-097 Disclosures, paras 20.

[47] Id., paras 20 and 22, citing Prosecutor v. Karemera et al., Case No. ICTR-98-44-PT, Decision on Defense Motion for Full Disclosure of Payments to Witnesses and to Exclude Testimony from Paid Witnesses, 23 August 2005, para 7.

[48] Prosecutor v. Taylor, Case No. SCSL-03-01-1053, Addendum to Defense Reply to Prosecution Response to Defense Motion for Disclosure of Statement and Prosecution Payments Made to DCT-097, 19 August 2010, para 1 [hereinafter “Defense Reply on DCT-097 Disclosures”].

[49] Id., para 12.

[50] Id., para 8.

[51] Prosecutor v. Taylor, Case No. SCSL-03-01-1053, Addendum to Defense Reply to Prosecution Response to Defense Motion for Disclosure of Statement and Prosecution Payments Made to DCT-097.

[52] Prosecutor v. Taylor, Case No. SCSL-03-01-1084, Decision on Defense Motion for Disclosure of Statement and Prosecution Payments made to DCT-097, 23 September 2010, para 22, citing Prosecutor v. Karemera et al., Case No. ICTR-98-44-PT, Decision on Defense Motion for Full Disclosure of Payments to Witnesses and to Exclude Testimony from Paid Witnesses, 23 August 2005, para 7.

[53] Special Court for Sierra Leone, Statute, Article 17; Rules, Rule 95.

[54] Prosecutor v. Taylor, Case No. SCSL-03-01-T-1086, Defense Motion to Exclude Evidence Falling Outside the Scope of the Indictment and/or the Jurisdiction of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, 24 September 2010, para 15.

[55] Rules, Rule 77(A)(iv) and Rule 77(C)(iii).

[56] Prosecutor v. Taylor, Case No. SCSL-03-01-1089, Defense Motion Requesting an Investigation into Contempt of Court by the Office of the Prosecution and its Investigators, 24 September 2010 [hereinafter “Defense Contempt Motion”], para 9, citing Prosecutor v. Taylor, Case No. SCSL-03-01-960, Confidential Decision, 8 December 2008, para 22, citing Prosecutor v. Brima et al., Case No. SCSL-04-16-AR77-315, Decision on Defense Appeal Motion Pursuant to Rule 77(J) on both the Imposition of Interim Measures and an Order Pursuant to Rule 77(C)(iii), 23 June 2005 [hereinafter “AFRC Contempt Appeal Decision”], para 17.

[57] Including statements from Defense witnesses DCT-133, DCT-086, DCT-102, DCT-032, and DCT-097.

[58] Defense Contempt Motion, para 11.

[59] Prosecutor v. Taylor, SCSL-03-01-1097, Prosecution Response to ‘Public with Confidential Annexes A-J and Public Annexes K-O Defense Motion Requesting an Investigation into Contempt of Court by the Office of the Prosecution and its Investigators, 4 October 2010,  para 5 [hereinafter “Prosecution Response to Contempt Motion”], citing AFRC Contempt Appeal Decision, para 17.

[60] Id., para 5, citing AFRC Contempt Appeal Decision, para 2.

[61] Prosecution Response to Contempt Motion, para 11, internal citations omitted.

[62] Taylor, Trial Transcript, 2 September 2010, pg. 25 (line 12-13).

[63] Applications for access to or disclosure of witness statements have been a frequent issue in the Taylor case. See e.g., Charles Taylor Monthly Trial Report (February 22, 2010 – March 31, 2010) pgs. 2- 4; Charles Taylor Monthly Trial Report (June 1, 2010 – June 30, 2010), pg. 3.

[64] The Judges addressed a similar issue previously; see for example Charles Taylor Monthly Trial Report (February 22, 2010 – March 31, 2010) pgs. 2- 5 (Allowing the requested disclosure of witness statements in one of three instances); Charles Taylor Monthly Trial Report (June 1, 2010 – June 30, 2010), pg. 3 (Ordering the disclosure of the Defense witness statement).

[65] The issue of “fresh evidence” had been discussed previously. See e.g., Charles Taylor Monthly Trial Report (November 10, 2009 – February 18, 2010), Section 3, pg.4; “Objection Relating to Documentary Evidence”  Section 4(a), pgs. 4-5.

[66] Taylor, Trial Transcript, 5 August 2010, pg. 11 (lines 5 – 7)

[67] Taylor, Trial Transcript, 5 August 2010, pg. 21 (lines 6 – 7).

[68] Taylor, Trial Transcript, 5 August 2010, pg. 10 (lines 2 – 5).

[69] Taylor, Trial Transcript, 5 August 2010, pg. 13 (lines 20 – 25).

[70] Taylor, Trial Transcript, 5 August 2010, pg. 12 (line 1). 

[71] Taylor, Trial Transcript, 5 August 2010, pg. 27 (lines 6 – 8).

[72] Taylor, Trial Transcript, 9 August 2010, pg. 10 (lines 23 – 26).

[73] Taylor, Trial Transcript, 9 August 2010, pg. 19 (line 28).

[74] Taylor, Trial Transcript, 9 August 2010, pg. 71 (lines 24 – 28).

[75] Taylor, Trial Transcript, 9 August 2010, pg. 127 (lines 6 – 7).

[76] Taylor, Trial Transcript, 9 August 2010, pg. 127 (line 18).

[77] Taylor, Trial Transcript, 9 August 2010, pg. 129 (lines 8 – 9).

[78] Taylor, Trial Transcript, 9 August 2010, pg. 127 (line 15).

[79] Prosecutor v. Sesay, Kallon and Gbao, Case No. 2004-15-PT, Corrected Amended Consolidated Indictment, 2 August 2006.

[80] Taylor, Trial Transcript, August 2, 2010, pg. 15 (lines 19-22).

[81] Taylor, Trial Transcript, August 2, 2010, pg. 17 (lines 6-9).

[82] Taylor, Trial Transcript, August 2, 2010, pg. 25 (lines 25-29).

[83] Taylor, Trial Transcript, August 2, 2010, pg. 66 (lines 3-5).

[84] Taylor, Trial Transcript, August 2, 2010, pg. 66 (lines 9-12).

[85] Taylor, Trial Transcript, August 2, 2010, pg. 44 (lines 1-9).

[86] Taylor, Trial Transcript, August 6, 2010, pg. 77 (lines 15-17); pg. 78 (lines 2-5).

[87] Taylor, Trial Transcript, August 11, 2010, pg. 58 – 59 (lines 28-29; 1 – 5).

[88] Taylor, Trial Transcript, August 12, 2010, pg. 25 (lines 23-26).

[89] Taylor, Trial Transcript, August 12, 2010, pg. 64 (lines 20-25).

[90] Prosecution witness TF1-539 testified that he was part of the group who made the purchase in Burkina Faso, and that prior to the closing of the deal, he had personally met Taylor at his Executive Mansion to discuss the possibility of obtaining arms from Burkina Faso.

[91] Taylor, Trial Transcript, August 18, 2010, pg. 124 (lines 9-19).

[92] Taylor, Trial Transcript, August 16, 2010, pg. 54 (lines 5-10).

[93] Taylor, Trial Transcript, August 13, 2010, pg. 52 (lines 14-16).

[94] Taylor, Trial Transcript, August 13, 2010, pg. 60 (lines 4-10).

[95] Taylor, Trial Transcript, August 13, 2010, pg. 82 (lines 16-18).

[96] Witness for the Defense DCT-131, Isatu Kallon, testified that after NPFL’s invasion of Liberia in December 1989, NPFL forces began harassing and detaining individuals whose countries of origin had provided military or logistical support to the Economic Community of West African States Monitoring Group (ECOMOG): Sierra Leoneans, Nigerians and Guineans. According to the witness, Foday Sankoh pleaded with NPFL forces to free the Sierra Leoneans, and was successful in doing so.

[97] Taylor, Trial Transcript, August 16, 2010, pg. 135 (line 27).

[98] Taylor, Trial Transcript, August 19, 2010, pg. 84 (line 28).

[99] Taylor, Trial Transcript, August 23, 2010, pg. 85 (line 29); pg. 86 (lines 1-3).

[100] Taylor, Trial Transcript, August 23, 2010, pg. 123 (lines 6-10).

[101] Taylor, Trial Transcript, August 25, 2010, pg. 52 (lines 12-19).

[102] Taylor, Trial Transcript, August 25, 2010, pg. 84 (lines 22-26).

[103] Taylor, Trial Transcript, August 26, 2010, pg. 28 (lines 25-29); pg. 28 (lines 1-2).


  1. Prosecution,

    Where are the evidences? The Liberian people want to know. Show us the 5 billion dollars; show us that this innocent man gave Naomi Campbell “blood diamonds.” Show us the gun manufacturing company in Liberia or elsewhere where he gave the Sierra Leonean diamonds in exchange for weapons. Show us where Issa Sesay said President Taylor was his boss and or was in the command and control structure of the RUF? Show the world the forensic evidence that Johnny Paul Koroma is dead and his death was Mr. Taylor doing. Listen up, free this man and let him work on a humanitarian basis to foster peace and tranquility around the world. You have no case on this innocent man. Free President Taylor.

    1. This man is on trial for the crime he committed,make no mistake,justice will prevail by all means and just so you know there are evidences, the most important you can have-eye witnesses from people and ammesty international and global witness. not picking side here you but you need to do some research on the civil war in liberia to have some basic knowledge before you make comments about taylor been innocent.

      1. Novak,

        Is President Taylor on trial now for Liberia by the Special Court for Sierra Leone? Can you prove that this innocent man committed the crimes that your self negating and inextricably pronouncement of Mr. Taylor is the doer? I tell you what, go to the Hague and help your intellectually superior and nuanced lawyers who have no concrete evidence sufficient enough to convict this innocent man. Fake Case. Novak, check the wikileaks cable on this FAKE CASE. You will learn.

  2. I think this report is fair. We are eagerly waiting to hear closing arguments from both the prosecution and the defence.

  3. Dear sam,

    Sorry I have not responded to your post of November 22, 2010 at 9:27 am. I have been somewhat disconnected since the closing of the case by the defense.

    I am not an Attorney, but during legal proceedings I have been part of, some I went Pro Se. I have won some and lost some; when it comes to this trial, I think that Mr. Taylor is blessed to have the legal team that he has. [In light of the fact that he was indicted by the UN that is] this in fact is “classic defense lawyer tactics.”

    I hope that you can forgive me for the succeeding portion of this post; but it is the only way I can express my opinion concerning what I think the closing argument should be about. Unless there can be a showing of Joint Criminal Enterprise (JCE), I cannot see how Mr. Taylor can be found guilty.

    Needless to say, the Court Records Documenting System is offline again.

    Please read the following copy of two postings made on the September 13, 2010 Daily Summary.

    1. On September 15, 2010 at 9:52 am, sasco said:

    Well, thank you all for your comments on this site. most of us readers were enlightened by your thoughtful deliberations. many of you showed how passionate you are for justice, others demonstrated how diligent they are in keeping records of events. Most of us including myself could not share our opinions with the public in most instances but agreed and disagreed with many of your views on this site.

    at this stage, i would like to just give my opinion based on the legal aspect of this issue:

    JCE (Join Criminal Enterprise )

    Well,from the judgment from this link, i think the prosecution failed to prove JCE for CT please read this carefully and tried to see whether you could see the answer to the following questions when the prosecution presented their case.

    1. what was the common purpose during the indictment period? when and where was it formed? was Taylor part of this plan? did he know or has reasons to know of the plan?
    the prosecution tactics was to link CT too the decisions of this judgment by which they intend to use as precedent but from all legal reasoning arising from this judgment, I think it did not prove

    i) a plurality of persons;

    (ii) the existence of a common plan, design or purpose which amounts to or involves the commission of a crime provided for in the Statute;

    (iii) participation of the accused in the common design involving the perpetration of one of the crimes provided for in the Statute.

    JCE is critical in this case. once it is not proven beyond all reasonable doubts, I may retire. good luck guys and thank you.



    On September 17, 2010 at 2:41 pm, Sekou said:

    Dear sasco,

    I agree, without a link establishing Joint Criminal Enterprise (JCE) there should be no conviction. I have not followed this trial throughout but judging from what I have seen, the only evidence that may bear against Mr. Taylor are witnesses of which Mr. Taylor alleges has been paid off by the prosecution; eliminating the prosecutions sort after material facts pleaded in the Indictment; as the Appeals Chamber necessitated in the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council Appeal Judgment from the Special Court for Sierra Leone. I hope this answer your question.

    See paragraph 82:

    • The Appeals Chamber holds that the common purpose of the joint criminal enterprise was not defectively pleaded. Although the objective of gaining and exercising political power and control over the territory of Sierra Leone may not be a crime under the Statute, the actions contemplated as a means to achieve that objective are crimes within the Statute. The Trial Chamber took an erroneously narrow view by confining its consideration to paragraph 33 and reading that paragraph in isolation. Furthermore, the Trial Chamber erred in its consideration of “evidence” adduced at trial to determine whether the Indictment was properly pleaded. THE ERROR AROSE BECAUSE DETERMINATION OF WHETHER THE PROSECUTION PROPERLY PLEADED A CRIME MUST BE DETERMINED ON THE BASIS OF WHETHER THE PROSECUTION PLEADED ALL THE MATERIAL FACTS IN THE INDICTMENT, NOT WHETHER IT HAD ADDUCED EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT THE ALLEGATIONS.

    Select searchable on link:

    See link:

    I seriously believe that the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council conviction is to be blamed on effectiveness assistance of counsel (of which that does not appear to be the case for Mr. Taylor) and below are the reasons given by the Appeals Chamber beginning at paragraph 36:

    B. Defective submissions

    36. The Appeals Chamber has the inherent discretion to find that any of the Parties’ submissions do not merit a reasoned opinion in writing and summarily dismiss arguments that are evidently unfounded. In particular, the Appeals Chamber cannot effectively and efficiently carry out its mandate without focused submissions by the Parties. In order for the Appeals Chamber to assess a Party’s arguments, the Party is expected to set out its Grounds of Appeal clearly, logically and exhaustively. Accordingly, submissions that are obscure, contradictory, vague or suffer from other formal and obvious insufficiencies may be, on that basis, summarily dismissed without detailed reasoning.

    37. In the instant proceeding, the Appeals Chamber has identified the following seven types of deficiencies in the Parties’ submissions.

    38. First, some submissions are vague. An appellant is expected to identify the challenged factual finding and put forward its factual arguments with specificity. As a general rule, where an appellant’s references to the Trial Judgment or the evidence are missing, vague or incorrect, the Appeals Chamber will summarily dismiss that alleged error or argument. The Appeals Chamber has summarily dismissed a number of the Parties’ argument on this basis.

    39. Second, some submissions merely claim a failure to consider evidence. A Trial Chamber is not required to refer to the testimony of every witness and to every piece of evidence on the record, and failure to do so does not necessarily indicate lack of consideration.” This holds true as long as there is no indication that the Trial Chamber completely disregarded any particular piece of evidence. Such disregard is shown “when evidence which is clearly relevant to the findings is not addressed by the Trial Chamber’s reasoning. Where the Appeals Chamber finds that an appellant merely asserts that the Trial Chamber failed to consider relevant evidence, without showing that no reasonable trier of fact, based on the totality of the evidence, could have reached the same conclusion as the Trial Chamber did, or without showing that the Trial Chamber completely disregarded the evidence, it will, as a general rule, summarily dismiss that alleged error or argument.” The Appeals Chamber has summarily dismissed the arguments suffering from this type of deficiency.

    40. Third, some submissions merely seek to substitute alternative interpretations of the evidence. As a general rule, mere assertions that the Trial Chamber erred in its evaluation of the evidence, such as claims that the Trial Chamber failed to give sufficient weight to certain evidence, or should have interpreted evidence in a particular manner, are liable to be summarily dismissed. Similarly, where an appellant merely seeks to substitute its own evaluation of the evidence for that of the Trial Chamber, such submissions may be dismissed without detailed reasoning. The same applies to claims that the Trial Chamber could not have inferred a certain conclusion from circumstantial evidence, without further explanation.” An appellant must address the evidence the Trial Chamber relied on and explain why no reasonable trier of fact, based on the evidence, could have evaluated the evidence as the Trial Chamber did, and the Appeals Chamber may summarily dismiss arguments that fail to make such a minimum pleading on appeal. The Appeals Chamber has summarily dismissed the arguments that fail to comply with this rule.

    41. Fourth, some submissions fail to identify the prejudice. Where the Appeals Chamber considers that an appellant fails to explain how the alleged factual error had an effect on the conclusions in the Trial Judgment, it will summarily dismiss that alleged error or argument. The arguments of the Parties suffering from this deficiency have been summarily dismissed.

    42. Fifth, some submissions are mere repetitions of arguments at trial. The Appeals Chamber will, as a general rule, summarily dismiss submissions that merely repeat arguments that did not succeed at trial unless it is shown that their rejection by the Trial Chamber constituted an error warranting the intervention of the Appeals Chamber.” The Appeals Chamber emphasizes that an appellant must contest the Trial Chamber’s findings and conclusions, and should not simply invite the Appeals Chamber to reconsider issues de novo. Submissions that merely put forward an appellant’s position without addressing the Trial Chamber’s allegedly erroneous finding or conclusion therefore fail to properly develop an issue for appeal. Some of the Parties’ arguments have been summarily dismissed on this basis.

    43. Sixth, many submissions are otherwise incomplete. Submissions may be dismissed without detailed reasoning where an appellant makes factual claims or presents arguments that the Trial Chamber should have reached a particular conclusion without advancing any evidence in support. Indeed, an appellant is expected to provide the Appeals Chamber with an exact reference to the parts of the trial record invoked in support of its arguments.” As a general rule, in instances where this is not done, the Appeals Chamber will summarily dismiss the alleged error or argument. Similarly, the Appeals Chamber will, as a general rule, summarily dismiss undeveloped arguments and alleged errors, as well as submissions where the appellant fails to articulate the precise error committed by the Trial Chamber.91 The Appeals Chamber has, therefore, summarily dismissed numerous arguments because they are unsupporred.” undeveloped.” or fail to articulate the precise error alleged.

    44. Lastly, some submissions exceed the applicable page limit. The Parties are obliged to comply with the page limits for their appeal briefs set out in Article 6(E) of the Practice Direction on Filing Documents before the Special Court for Sierra Leone, as amended, and to seek authorization pursuant to Article 6(G) of the said Practice Direction before filing appeal briefs which exceed that page limit. In the present case, the Parties were granted extensions of pages for their appeal and response briefs.” Additional arguments of the Parties presented in annexes to their Appeals in violation of the page limit thus imposed have been summarily dismissed.

    45. In addition to the abovementioned formal deficiencies in the pleadings, the Appeals Chamber observes that large parts of the Parties’ Grounds of Appeal are, in general, poorly structured and organized. For instance, rather than making distinct challenges under separate grounds of appeal, the Parties arrange different parts of different grounds to support a variety of arguments without indicating which portion of each argument develops which ground of appeal. Similarly, in other instances the Parties group a range of disparate arguments, each concerning a substantial issue, under a single ground of appeal. The Parties also frequently raise the same argument in numerous grounds of appeal. Finally, the Parties have often used “sub-grounds” of appeal to designate apparently new grounds of appeal, rendering meaningless the practice of pleading distinct errors as distinct grounds of appeal. In the interests of justice, the Appeals Chamber has endeavored to fully consider these problematic submissions, subject to the summary dismissals outlined above. We note, however, that the poorly structured and disorganized grounds of appeal failed to assist the Appeals Chamber in its consideration of the issues and arguments.

    46. Finally, the Appeals Chamber observes that the tone and language of some submissions do not meet the standard expected of those appearing before the Special Court. Although zealous advocacy is encouraged, Counsel should nevertheless maintain a respectful and decorous tone in their submissions.

    I hope that in some way this will assist the defense.

    Take care,


  4. Dear Jennifer Easterday,

    I am just curious as to whether you are quoting Issa Sesay in the paragraph which has endnote #85; when it state “But he said there was a God that knew that he was innocent and had no hands in it and he said this was the worst thing Mr. Taylor could – Mr. Sankoh could ever do in his life.”?

    • [Taylor] said this is a very big disappointment on the part of Mr. Sankoh, he said, because this has brought a setback to the Lome Accord and that people in the rest of the world, like America, England, he said the things that were happening, they thought Charles Taylor had hands in them. But he said there was a God that knew that he was innocent and had no hands in it and he said this was the worst thing Mr. Taylor could – Mr. Sankoh could ever do in his life.[85]

    Your link for endnote #85 does not work and I am unable to verify Mr. Sesay’s testimony concerning [RUF Contacts with Taylor].

    The reason I ask this question is there were moments when the translators would mistranslate the witness testimony and perhaps this was one of the occasions.

    Your post is otherwise objective rather than one-sided; I would give you an “A” should I be your Professor.

    Take care,


    1. Dear Ms Easterday,

      The inference you have taken from Mr. Sesay’s testimony at endnote #85, is located at Taylor, Trial Transcript, August 2, 2010, pg. 45218 (lines 1-9), rather than, Taylor, Trial Transcript, August 2, 2010, pg. 44 (lines 1-9). You cited the page number of the PDF rather than the page number of the trial transcript.

      With that I will add, as being a supporter of the defense, the preceding paragraph beginning at line 10 and ending at line 19, tends to offer a more focused account of Mr. Sesay’s recollection of his meeting with Mr. Taylor regarding Mr. Sankoh and any connections Mr. Taylor may have had with the RUF during the UNAMSIL affair.

      • So I heard the things he told me and, the way he was speaking, he did not have any interest in knowing about Mr. Sankoh, what had happened to Mr. Sankoh in Freetown, or what problem he had had in Freetown, no. I did not notice that from his face. I did not observe his face like that and he did not ask me about Mr. Sankoh’s condition in Freetown. He only told me about the mandate that the ECOWAS leaders had received from the Security Council to facilitate the immediate release of the UNAMSIL. So he said that was the reason why his colleague ECOWAS leaders had asked him to talk to the RUF, to release the people.

      According to Mr. Sesay, (Leader of the RUF in 2000) this was the reason that Mr. Taylor made contact with the RUF during the period of 1996 to 2000; as charged in the indictment.

      Just my offerings, of course.

      Take care,


      1. Sekou probably needs to keep these “new findinds,”as they seem to Sekou, for appeal section! I understand sekou’s position, as clearly indicated in one of the paragraphs: “….With that I will add, as being a supporter of the defense, the preceding paragraph beginning at line 10 and ending at line 19, tends to offer a more focused account of Mr. Sesay’s recollection of his meeting with Mr. Taylor regarding Mr. Sankoh and any connections Mr. Taylor may have had with the RUF during the UNAMSIL affair.” Unquote, What are all these long explanations suppose to mean, Sekou? Sekou sounds like taylor in disguise! I am beginning to analyze all his postings lately! We will uncover who, and what objective sekou presents here. One fact is that Sekou responses to nobody, but keeps coming back secretly, to present his case under-cover! I challenge Sekou to rebuff my claims!

        1. Dear jfallahmenjor,

          The difference between you and I is you have an undying extreme dislike for Mr. Taylor; whereas I have only have a concern that he receive a fair trial.

          In the West, Civilization (or civilisation) is a sometimes controversial term which has been used in several related ways. Primarily, the term has been used to refer to human cultures which are relatively more complex in terms of technology, politics and division of labor. Such civilizations are generally urbanized. In classical contexts civilized people are called this in contrast to “barbarian” people, while in early modern contexts civilized people were contrasted to “primitive” people.

          To be Civilized, one is generally considered as:

          1. Having a highly developed society and culture.

          2. Showing evidence of moral and intellectual advancement; humane, ethical, and reasonable.

          3. Marked by refinement in taste and manners; cultured; polished.

          I do not share your sentiment:

          • I feel very sad that we are washing our dirty laundry in public! It is a shame we still have a long way to civilization!

          I would tend to believe that groups like the Free Pentecostal Global Missions (Liberia) Inc. would have a more humane approach to this trial; wouldn’t you? Perhaps you should consult with them to come in line with fair play. I am not here to find fault with people on this site; ones opinion may or may not be plausible with the experience I have.

          See links:

  5. Dear Taegin Stevenson,

    Would you provide me with your hours of operation?

    Thanking you in advance,


    1. Dear Sekou,

      As a website, we do not keep regular hours of operation. However, most of the comments submitted by our readers, such as yourself, will be approved when our moderators are working. This is generally from 9:00-5:00 EST, Monday-Friday.



      1. Dear Taegin Stevenson,

        I was just curious since on December 5, 2010 at 9:25 pm, jfallahmenjor responded to my post of December 5, 2010 at 12:13 am; These posts were made on a Sunday; it is surprising to see someone can read my post and respond before it has been published for everyone else to see; unless some are camped out at this site for early reading.

        Thank you,


    2. Sekou, the above links you posted to my request are not relevant, because the names; menjor, fallah, and etc.. are no relations to jfallahmenjor, except being members of my Kissi Tribe, to which, I have never hidden my identity from, Sekou. I am neither Pentercostal nor member of any denomination of Liberia. That is where I have successfully duped many of you into thinking, Sekou. Besides, if I should agree with your definition of ‘civilization’ then all of us, Liberians are barbarians based on how we live, act, and think! Taylor could be considered as barbaric for his acts, don’t you think so? and to defend him would also be accepting his acts, wouldn’t it be?

      1. 12-6-2010

        Many, many attorneys would give their right arm to have you as a law clerk or an associate. Your research, analysis and diplomacy are superior.

        Peace and blessings my friend

        1. Dear cen,

          Good to hear from you again; and thank you for the accolade as well.

          It would be interesting to see if I could set up my research skills in a firm some place. I am currently representing myself in federal court, and so far it appears that I have a prevailing claim. I am using precedence from that circuit and think that within the next 60 days I will have won.

          I will be taking out for the remainder of the week and going to the Washington DC area to attend a Christmas concert of which my daughter is an aspiring opera singer.

          Hope to hear from you soon.

          Take care,


    3. I think jfallahmenjor, the labanese, will help sekou here: Fallah responded the same day sekou posted on December 5, 2010, 12:13 a.m. and it was at 9:25 p.m. on December 5, 2010 that fallah responded. Furthermore, the quote used was from the second paragraph of your same post! Moderators do not need to waste their time in explaining this to any serious scholar, I believe. jfallahmenjor is here to remain and no threats will derail me! taylor is the subject here and not fallah the predicate!

  6. Fallah,
    Maybe you are not a Liberian in fact. Probably one of those lebaneese merchants who has long inflated economic casualty on our people for rocks of ages. Invading our Liberian tax code, paying revenue agents on the side, and selling out dated rotten sardines to our people. Fallah, you have duped no one here. We all are level headed…oldman, rebel activity in Liberia and Sierralrone started with you. REMEMBER???

    1. Noko5, stop guessing who jfallahmenjor is, because he will reveal himself in Ellen’s next term. I am liberian National, for the 11th times, NOKO5 and Sekou, the village Researcher, and one who appears anxious to attempt revelation of others, while he hides behind a Muslim name, Sekou! If any of you are no such cowards, please reveal yourselves as much as fallah has done on this site! For example, your activities from 1989 to present! That may clear the air jfallahmenjor has about each of you from his covert operation. You cannot, honestly tell me you have no parts to play in taylor’s fiasco and greedy operations in both Sierra Leone and Liberia. I need answers and not these baseless accusations and guessing of jfallahmenjor being a Labanese, or Swedish National, Sekou or NOKO5!

    2. Sekou,

      You are phenomenally awesome. You are fabulous. You are an outstanding and square away individual. Keep up the good work that you have started for justice sake. Did I say justice sake? Yes I did. Justice sake.

      1. Dear Jose Rodriguez,

        Thank you for the accolade; however, I am disappointed to see that the Court Records Documenting System continues to be offline. I would like to see what is being filed by the Defense and Prosecution. Needless to say, I cannot allow this setback to frustrate me in any way. It is impossible for me to contact the Records Branch to request that they bring the system back online.

        Never the less, I reiterate; Unless there can be a showing of Joint Criminal Enterprise (JCE), I cannot see how Mr. Taylor can be found guilty. I remind you of Article 25 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and hope that the Defense team will focus their outline on JCE.

        Article 25: Individual criminal responsibility

        1. The Court shall have jurisdiction over natural persons pursuant to this Statute.

        2. A person who commits a crime within the jurisdiction of the Court shall be individually responsible and liable for punishment in accordance with this Statute.

        3. In accordance with this Statute, a person shall be criminally responsible and liable for punishment for a crime within the jurisdiction of the Court if that person:

        (a) Commits such a crime, whether as an individual, jointly with another or through another person, regardless of whether that other person is criminally responsible;

        (b) Orders, solicits or induces the commission of such a crime which in fact occurs or is attempted;

        (c) For the purpose of facilitating the commission of such a crime, aids, abets or otherwise assists in its commission or its attempted commission, including providing the means for its commission;

        (d) In any other way contributes to the commission or attempted commission of such a crime by a group of persons acting with a common purpose. Such contribution shall be intentional and shall either:

        (i) Be made with the aim of furthering the criminal activity or criminal purpose of the group, where such activity or purpose involves the commission of a crime within the jurisdiction of the Court; or

        (ii) Be made in the knowledge of the intention of the group to commit the crime;

        (e) In respect of the crime of genocide, directly and publicly incites others to commit genocide;

        (f) Attempts to commit such a crime by taking action that commences its execution by means of a substantial step, but the crime does not occur because of circumstances independent of the person’s intentions. However, a person who abandons the effort to commit the crime or otherwise prevents the completion of the crime shall not be liable for punishment under this Statute for the attempt to commit that crime if that person completely and voluntarily gave up the criminal purpose.

        4. No provision in this Statute relating to individual criminal responsibility shall affect the responsibility of States under international law.

        See link:

        Take care,


      2. Hi Jose, I haven’t heard from you for a while. Likewise Jacone, the general, and Helen. Come on guys, we need to keep the debate going while we await taylor’s freedom and triumphant return to power in West Africa so he can continue and complete the modernization of Liberia! We, Liberians are quick to forget! Now guys tell jfallahmenjor which party taylor intends to run on, NPFL or he will start a New RUF Proper? Warning, taylor and support group will regret if such move is made! One more term, Ellen..and thanks for the work well done! You have strong backings from new forces that are ready to keep you there.

        1. My fellow Comrade,

          Big B is alive and kicking. For the past (5) weeks I was in Liberia unable to monitor the trail due to the inadequate bandwidth at the café. I am a bit behind and trying to catch up.

          From my observation while in Liberia, the Liberian people have been denied all access to the trial. As a result, they don’t really care if President Taylor is acquitted or found guilty.

          However, what blew my mind last week is when the New Democratic own by Tom Kamara published a story about President Taylor and Emmanuel Shaw “duped” the Liberian government of billion of dollars. The New Democratic published all these lies just to be able to breakeven. Fortunately, the Liberian people know the tricks of the New Democratic.

          There you go again, Tom Kamara wants to sell his paper. That’s the respond from the Liberia people.

  7. BRAVO to Griffiths! Thought he lost the motion for reconsideration dealing with the misconduct of the office of the prosecutor. In any case, the trail court decision to grant the defense two other motions enhances the fairness of the court. We will now await the final decision making process to see if the process will also produce a fair result favoring the accused.

    The accused, Charles Taylor should be let go to work for peace in Africa , on conflict resolution matters. Charles Taylor could do more in the area of peace building for Africa then sitting in a European jail house.

    1. Momo Dahn, charles taylor is in the right place where, people with such reputations as taylor’s, usually belong. This guy had no interest in any ‘peace making’ and it sounds rediculus to think so after all the allegations! It is like saying Sadam Housin should have remain alive to help the Peace Process in the Middle East, especially between Isreal and Palistine, or between Iran and Lebanon! These are ‘wacky’ thoughts for anyone with peaceful thoughts, Momo Dahn. This guy will never be remembered for anything positive in Africa..just like nobody talks good of Idi Amin of Uganda, decades later! These characters are notorious and that is the difference from being famous, Like Martin Luther King Jr. You need to live an example of being a man of Peace, and not just appearing as a man of peace to followers! Otherwise, Hitler would have been awarded a peace Medal by the Neo-Nazi of America, because they almost worship Hitler! Rubbish, isn’t it?

  8. Folks,

    President Taylor is responsible for the Ivory Coast having two presidents. One country, two president. Taylor is also responsible for the ongoing violence in the sub-region. The Guinean and Ivorian presidential election that was characterized with fraud and violence was masterminded by Taylor. By the way, Ellen is trying to intervene in the conflict of ivory coast and she did try in Guinea, even though, she was accused of sending arms and ammunition to one of the belligerent groups there. Will she go to court for supposedly helping to bring peace? Folks, the situation in ivory Coast is delicate. President Lawerence Gbabo, whose government was being protected all long by the U.N. troops in Ivory Coast is now invoking sovereignty and warning the powers of this earth to stay out of Ivory Coast business. Mr. president, why now? Is it because they are now supporting Allasane Outtara, who once worked for the World Bank and can be a better puppet than you? Where were you, when President Taylor said the holy grail of the power of darkness is to divide and conquer: once they get rid of him, they will get rid of all of you, until they can find their real puppet like the Ellen regime in Liberia. Mr. President, it is now happening. Good luck if you survive this one.

    1. Yes, Jose Rodrtiguez, taylor started all these troubles in West Africa! It is called;”ripple effect.”That is to say, had taylor not brought about the breakdown of law and order in his constant mendling into the affairs of neighboring Ivory Coast, Guinea, and Sierra Leone, we, probably, would have not had these ripple effects today. Say what you may and be as sarcastic as you want to sound, the buttom line is that taylor was not a good political role model for the region! That is why he is paying the price behind bars today, Jose.

      1. Fallah,

        The more I read, the more I see you reacting like the way you are reacting to this fake case, the more I understand just what a huge win for freedom and justice. Fallah, is President Taylor a “Sun God?” Is he the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end? Unbelievable. Let me ask you couple of questions that delineate major historical events in the sub-region, beginning with Liberia. Are you aware of the 1979 April 14 Rice Riot in Liberia that claimed the lives of over 300 Liberians? Are also aware of the coup D’tat on April 12, 1980 by the PRC in Liberia? Are you informed of the 1983″ Nimba Raid” in Liberia? Do you have any idea of the infamous 1985 Thomas Quawonkpah rebel invasion of Liberia with the help of the Sierra Leonean government? Now lets shift gear to Guinea. Are you aware of the overthrowing of Lassana Beavoki by Lassana Conteh in Guinea in 1984 after the death of Sekou Tou’re? Are you also aware of the one day overthrowing of Lassana Conteh in Guinea where Guineas were savagely murdered? Are you aware of Ali Kabbah and host of Sierra leonean dissidents foil attempt to overthrow the government of President Siaka Stevens of Sierra Leone? However, let me stop for now. Where was Taylor in all these things that I have chronically numerated? He was not around brother. Quit your lies and deceptions. All along, you guys were lying about this innocent absence in the sub-region has brought stability; but reality belies that argument, and today, we are seeing constant patternly absurd chaos and confusion. Now you are telling the world about “ripple effect” of Taylor liberating his people gives rise to others. But these things were already happening and continue to happen. Fallah, you run a greater risk of offending your own conscience if you continue with your blatant display of immoral and illegal hypocrisy. Your biased remorse will not help this full fledge lies that this self deprecating, self absorbed narcissistic prosecution brought against this innocent man. The prospect for the quick turnaround of this fake case is dismal. They don’t have sufficient concrete evidence to convict this innocent man. Where is the 5 billion dollars? Where is the proof that he gave Naomi Campbell diamonds, she said, he didn’t. Where is the proof of the joint criminal enterprise agreement? Issa Sesay says Taylor was not his boss and they didn’t take order from him and besides, he didn’t give them guns. FAKE CASE.

      2. So Fallah,

        Do you believe this innocent man who is in the custody of the powers of this world is responsible for Ivory Coast having two elected presidents at the same, even though you have thousands of U. N troops on the grounds? Is Taylor also responsible for the chaos in Guinea, and Ivory Coast, though he’s not around? UNBELIEVABLE. TAYLOR, YOU MUST BE A SUN GOD. YOU ARE THE ALPHA AND THE OMEGA, THE BEGINNING AND THE END. YOU DON’T EVEN HAVE ANY BEGINNING, IN FACT NO END. YOU ARE OMNIPOTENT. YOU ARE ALL POWERFUL ACCORDING TO YOUR CRITICS. JE-SUS CH-RIST. GOOD LORD, ALMIGHTY, WHICH WAY SHOULD WE TURN?

      3. Fallah,

        I sound just like you who inadvertently continue to blame this”INNOCENT MAN” for everything. Notwithstanding, according to you, I am sounding sarcastic. Should I also say all of your writings against this innocent man sound sarcastic? Because I wrote and sounded just like you and the American Ambassador accredited near the capitol, Monrovia, Linda Thomas Greenfield. However, my writing of blaming this innocent man of the instability in the sub-region is against this man. I blamed him for the trouble in the sub-region just like you Fallah, Eagle Eye, Ms. Teage, Noko7 turned Davenport, bnker, and above all,the American Ambassador to Liberia, Lind Thomas Greenfield, and etc, even though, he is in the custody of the white man. Bro, you have been a victim of your own trap and concession at your own peril. FAKE CASE. Fallah, do you know about the WICKED LEAK/wikileaks involving this fake case and the Americans schemes . On another note, Julia Assange (founder of wikileaks), you are a good man and your heroic and great personal valor in the face of intense international pressure, you were able to inspire millions of people around the world. Good job.

  9. Seriously who are these monitors from berkerly? Tehy write smart but I saw parts of this witness Issa Sasey and it was so different from report. It was clear he was lying about almost everything and contradicted even by Taylor witnesses who said he was one of biggest killers and was raper. Maybe for some reason monitors do not want to embarras Taylor defence who spent months with him, but when even their wintess say he was a big killer who was going to continue to lie, i sthis bet they can find?
    Are monitors told to write report to sound neutral even when evidnece makes it obivious witness is so bad? Sasey could not say where all the diamonds went to. He had no answer to that and it does not take professor to see he was tryin gto protect taylor and hisself. Sesay tried to say he did not know about child soldiers? please…

    1. Fadiya,
      If you have been following this trial from the begining, you will find that this case is not a re-trial of the RUF. The RUF and Sesay have been tried and convicted of crimes they committed in SL. This case is about Charles Taylor’s alleged support for the RUF in a joint criminal enterprise in order to terrorise the people of SL and take over power in SL. with that in mind, you will definately agree that wether Sesay committed rape or killed people is immaterial in this case because he has been convicted of that. What is at issue is wether he was an underlin of Charles Taylor, to which Issah Sessay has said times without number is FALSE.

      Hence the Berkeley report as far as I am concerned is fair. they simply concentrated on the core issues in the trial instead of dwelling on peripheral issues which have no bearing on the case.

  10. Big B,
    Welcome back; we are still here one this front of the line. Fallah menjor and his group of lying followers are still running their mouths, eventhough some like ms. Teage and NOKO7 turned Davenport have conceeded. Infact, I understood Ms. Teage drop out of school because shes expecting, which is also good. “CONGRAT girl” LOL. Not to take too much of your time, Fallah has blantantly refused to recognize the execelent job Sekou is doing, by giving us these informative infomats. He has now resolved to calling him all kinds of silly names and descriptions. But one thing I know, is brother sekou is focused and steadfast and will not be detered by evil forces such as Fallah Menjor. ALL IN ALL, WE ARE WINNING.. Maybe , brother Jose Rodreguez, the General who broke the wings of the Famous Ms. Teage will have some updates later..

    1. NOKO5 need to worry about general, Jacone, who abandoned the troupe, it appears, at critical moment! Ms Teage should be speared her private life on this blog, Noko5. We really do not need information on anyones private life, otherwise I would request Helen or Jacone tell us if their address changed due to not payment of rent..and etc..! You need to remain focused on the taylor trial and impacts on lives of all Liberians today! Hope I am clear here for now or else I will become more blunt in the next post, NOKO5.

      1. Fallah “LOL”.. hope you guys will stay out of the Ivorians problem.. Well you ‘ev been warned by your masterminder,ELLEN. Please brother I know retirement is sometimes boring, but hey, its a part of life. Kindly allow the Ivorians to solve their problem peacefully. Do not listen to Ellen this time when she ask you to put the boys back together for a final count down. But anyway, brother Fallah, could you please tell us a brief story about the planing of the 1979 rice riot..How you guys really did it??go ahead boy..

        1. Noko5,

          The “ELLEN REGIME” is asking Liberian parents to prevail on their children not to go to the Ivory Coast and get involve in the conflict with the two newly elected presidents. As the matter of facts, the “ELLEN REGIME” has sent stern warning to former Liberian rebel leaders to stay out of the conflict. Watch this. More importantly, the regime has accused Model rebel leader, Thomas Yaya Nimely of sending his former rebel fighters to fight in the conflict of Ivory Coast. However, he came firing back hard at the “ELLEN REGIME” by saying the inability of this REGIME to provide job opportunity to the young people of Liberia and the growing exponential rate of unemployment is to be looked at and not him, because he is not responsible for Liberians crossing over to the Ivory Coast to go and fight.

    2. Noko5,

      I am not sure if glad to be back. There is no where like home despite the HELL most people are literally living in. I missed the “five for five” 5 small club beer for five us dollars. On several occasions I ran into jfallah manjor at the entertainment center drinking “five for five”LOL.

      We are at the end of the rope; this trial has two ways to go. Down or up. No matter which turn this fake trial may take, President Taylor is in harmony with himself. I have no fear for the MAN.

      To my comrades thanks for the good fight we should never put down our arms until Africa is totally liberated from the hand of the “DEVILS”.


      1. Big B ran into jfallahmenjor on several occations, drinking club beer in where? You would have regreted if you had identified yourself, Big B! You know it Brother that fallah don’t play that! Any of you that goes to Liberia better not say anything bad about jfallahmenjor in any drinking functions because you might bear the full weight of your careless remarks, Big B. Come to Liberia next Summer, and you might run into jfallahmenjor and learn who borns dog, as you guys usually say to others just to express how tough you are! By then taylor will be serving time for alleged crimes of Sierra Leone, and the rest of the support group in hiding!

        1. Jfallah,

          Your threat means nothing to me. The good thing is I know who you are. I passed by you many days on Broad Street I could have set an armed bush for you. But not being clandestine, wicked and vindictive I looked you right in the eyes and went by my business.

          Because of your devilish acts you are living as a fugitive in your own Country. As popular as you are in Liberia, nobody get to see you. You come to the City under the covers of darkness and leave the same way you came. You are afraid of your own shadow.

          Who do you think born dog? Of course Dog born Dog fallah. Stop making these empty threats fallah. It’s is not call for. You can’t harm something if you don’t know what or who the thing is. A word to the wise is sufficient.

          Walk easy fallah!

        2. Big B

          Are you serious? Are you really stocking jfallahmenjor? What kind of man looks his friend in the eyes and not introduces himself? I respect you Big B but that behavior you are publicly talking about is deeply troubling.

        3. cen

          My friend, if you are attempting to sick Mr. Big B on me, your attempt will be unsuccessful. I have no problems with “Ex Army re-con veteran” Big B. I have a plate full of psycho stokers and the last thing I need is an “Ex Army re-con veteran” stocking me playing war games. I got nothing but respect for American veterans no matter what type of mental condition they are suffering from.

  11. Noko5,

    Indeed, we are winning this thing openly and there is no other way to put it. These career criminals who continue to shoot first before asking question or at least, jump first, before looking, were hell bent on administering blind justice to this innocent man, President Taylor, have been caught of guard by the splendid performance of President Taylor’s defense team. Folks, the vitriol hatred that David Crane, Allen White, Jack Klan, and a whole host of them helped to destroy their own purpose. “Fake Case.”


    1. Dear noko5,

      We cannot approve your comment because you have used language that is contrary to our website policy. Can you kindly rephrase the third from last sentence starting with “I am…”?

      Thank you.

  12. Thankyou Sam for explainin that strategy to me. so it dont matter if Seasey is killer and raper and that he lies to judges about that – as long as he says his chief had nothin to do withit, the judges should believe him?.when he says ruf trained army at npfl base for a year and taylor did notknow it, did you believe him sam? You must have great faith judges are fools or something worse. when taylor makes us all wastes so much time listening to this cold monster Issa … I would have thoughthe would at least have found a better liar to parade before court. I hope hisothers were better. were they?

    1. Fadiya,

      Who was Mr. Sesay chief that he Sesay talked about according to you? Did he say President Taylor was his chief? where and when in the transcript he ever made mention of anything remotely close to your absurd horribly terrifying lies of Mr. Taylor being his chief ? Please be specific here sir/madam in answering these simple questions.

    2. Fadiya,
      If you find it difficult to believe the testimony of Issa Sessay I wonder what you have to say about the testimony of the self acclaimed canibal and mass murderer Zigzag Marzah or the testimony of Isaac Mongor who claimed to have been sent to SL by Charles Taylor – he not even being a Special Forces. I wonder which testimony to believe because if you believe Zigzag Marzah or Isaac Mongor and fail to believe Issah, I am at a loss ast to what you base your judgement of truth and falsehood on.

  13. Has anyone been able to open the new documents posted on the Court Records website? I am having trouble opening documents from 15th November till date.

  14. Folks,

    Liberians are fighting currently in the Ivory Coast. Will it be fair to say it is the Ellen regime that sent them there or President Taylor sitting in the white man jail cell? On a different front, France President , Sarkozy, has ordered President Gbagbo of Ivory Coast to quit by the end of this week. EU is blaming Gbagbo for the civil unrest. Washington is saying he has limited amount of time to leave office. Quite frankly, I have mix feeling. However, when President Taylor was warning you guys about the divide and conquer, you guys were tone death because you had the same people who are telling you to leave power now on your side. Now your time has come. Like I said before, good luck Mr. Gbagbo if you survive this one.

    1. President Sarkozy is right, Jose, for pressuring Gbabgo to leave immediately, just like George Bush, did to taylor! This is the right thing to do Jose, whether you comprehend or not. It will be unnecessary to stop the murders after 2500,000 dead later. You can have all the mixed feelings Jose, Jacone, Helen, Big B, and NOKO5, on the voices of the whiteman this time, even though, you are forgetting that the President of the United State, Obama, is a Blackman, and he too, weighed in on this! Merry xmas to disgruntles on the affairs of the Motherland..the Struggle continues.. in the cause of the people!

      1. fallah,

        You are comparing apple with orange. President Sarkozy is asking Gbabgo to accept the election result, while George Bush and Tony Blar supported rebels to topple a legitimate government. Bush did not ask President Taylor to leave because he refused to accept the result of an election. Your analogy is ludicrous.

        If those two guys (Bush/Blar) really wanted peace for Liberia why did they supported rebels in the first place? They could have simply asked President Taylor to step down or else…But no, Bush and Blar aided and abetted rebels to terrorize my people, our people. It was after the fact.

        Might means Right in today’s World order!

        1. Jose Rodreguez,
          LOL” pekin you crazy” leave oldman Fallah alone about that number thing..ha ha ha… You kno dey papay na retire….

  15. Sam , I was able to open the documents and read the rulings. Except for one , from the defense, seeking prosecution of the prosecutors, the judges granted the other defense motions.

  16. Sam.

    Good point. Mazar was mass murderer .. and he worked for his chief Taylor too. So since you agree Seasay is mass murderer and he lied to judges abou t it. which one does it make sense to believe? – one who admits his crimes or one who keeps lying about it?

    but more important now is what brother Jose has told us. Liberians are now fighting for Gbagbo. That is really scary. Jose, please, tell us whothese people are? are these the ex-npfl people you know? how did you find out about this? Please pray that we do not see war broghtback to our countries

  17. WOW!!!!!
    Read what Wilileaks has on this case….and we are told JUSTICE is what been sought in this case….HELL NO!!

    Wikileaks cables reveal US unease about Taylor’s trial

    MAIN Judges in one of the world’s most controversial war crimes trials have been deliberately slowing down proceedings, senior US officials believe, causing significant delays to proceedings.

    Secret cables reveal US doubts about the trial in The Hague of Charles Taylor, the former president of Liberia, amid allegations that one of the judges has manipulated proceedings so that she can personally give the verdict in the case.

    “[Sources] speculate that Justice [Julia] Sebutinde may have a timing agenda,” one senior US diplomat states. “They think she, as the only African judge, wants to hold the gavel as presiding judge when the trial announces the Taylor judgment.”

    The cable alleges that Sebutinde, from Uganda, had slowed proceedings while she waited for her turn at the court’s rotating presidency, which finally came up in January. Experts say such moves are common in international criminal proceedings.

    “It is certainly the case that the identity of the presiding judge is a factor that those involved in an international trial pay careful attention to,” said international law expert Philippe Sands QC. “That has been very clear in my experience.”

    Taylor, who was the president of Liberia but is on trial for alleged crimes relating to the conflict in Sierra Leone, remains in custody in The Hague, where the trial continues in the premises of the international criminal court. Sierra Leoneans have expressed anger at the slow proceedings.

    “People are frustrated that this case is taking so long,” said AB Jalloh, a Sierra Leonean journalist. “Sierra Leoneans are really frustrated that they have not been able to reach the final decision at the set time, and that they have kept on extending proceedings. Many feel that the money could have been better spent elsewhere in Sierra Leone.”

    The court denied that proceedings had been deliberately slowed down, stating that the judges had tried to speed up proceedings. “Since she became presiding judge last January, Justice Sebutinde has worked to expedite the Taylor trial,” a spokesperson said. “All of the judges of the trial chamber have worked tirelessly, and made personal sacrifices, to expedite the Taylor trial. The allegations that any or all of the judges have sought to slow down the proceedings is untrue.”

    But the cables reveal America’s lack of confidence in the proceedings, as officials at the court explored possibilities for eventually putting Taylor on trial in the US.
    “The best we can do for Liberia is to see Taylor is put away for a long time and we cannot delay for the results of the present trial to consider next steps,” another high-ranking US official stated in a cable.

    “All legal options should be studied to ensure Taylor cannot return to destablise Liberia. Building a case in the US against Taylor for financial crime such as wire fraud would probably be the best route. There may be other options, such as applying the new law criminalising the use of child soldiers or terrorism statutes,” the cable adds.
    Americans were so keen to see Taylor’s trial begin quickly that they were willing to ignore reports that a senior official at the court was being abusive towards employees, the documents also reveal.

    The Taylor trial has been dogged by controversy from the outset. It had originally been anticipated that proceedings at The Hague would have concluded by the end of this year.

    Earlier this year the model Naomi Campbell was summoned to give evidence at the court, amid allegations that she had received a “blood diamond” from the former Liberian leader, which prosecutors said proved Taylor’s connection to the conflict in neighbouring Sierra Leone.

  18. Reports in the international community says that the west is putting judge Sebitunde under enormous pressure to vote guilty against Taylor. The other two judges , it appears, have already consented to render a guilty verdict in gross disregard for the facts, This case is really a disgrace to international justice.

  19. Folks,

    All along we’ve been saying there is no concrete evidence to convict this innocent man. Now the Americans are saying the same thing, but yet they don’t want this innocent man to be a free man. Check this excerpt up from the cable leak. Folks, the Americans want to get this innocent man for wire transfer fraud now. UNBELIEVABLE.

    “Political and legal experts are concerned that the comments revealed in the cables for the first time raise serious possibilities that the case against Mr. Taylor may not be very strong in the wake of the U.S.’s lack of confidence in the proceedings. Further complicating matters are suggestions in the cables that U.S. officials at the court explored possibilities for eventually putting Taylor on trial in the U.S. “The best we can do for Liberia is to see Taylor put away for a long time and we cannot delay for the results of the present trial to consider next steps,” another high –ranking US official stated in a cable.

    Calls placed to Taylor’s lead attorney Courtenay Griffiths Sunday night were not returned. But some observers believe the leaked cables could give Griffiths a lot of ammunition to build a case of international conspiracy against the former president. It may also not be a good sign some say that the U.S. is already thinking about a post-Hague trial for Taylor bordering financial crimes such as wire fraud and a new law criminalizing the use of child soldiers or terrorism statutes, when a verdict in the ongoing trial is still a bit far from being reached.”

  20. What are we hearing again about the leak cables? Is it true that this whole case is a puzzle?

  21. Mr. or Ms. Moderator,

    Is there an issue with my comment? If so please let me know so that i can rephrase as this comment should not be taking this long to moderate.


    1. Dear Mas,

      There is no issue with your comment. Our offices have been closed for the Christmas and New Year holidays, so moderators have been slow in approving comments. Apologies for the delay.

      Happy new year,


  22. Jfallah,
    What do you have to say about Wikileaks latest cable about Mr. Taylor trial, Have you understood the Americans and Ellen position? They want Taylor out of Liberia for life. Is this the justice that the west seek on behalf of the people of Sierra Leone? We told you before that this mess is all about power and wealth. God bless President Taylor.

    Harris K Johnson

  23. Dear All,

    Compliments of the season.

    From the onset of this trial, I’ve made my view very clear that this show trial is a conspiracy by USA and UK to get rid of my president C. Taylor because he refuses to be a puppet like others. the leaked diplomatic cables by Julian Assange prove my view right. Follow the link below for more information

    USA and UK knows very well there is no evidence to find my president guilty. Therefore they are now working on plan B since plan A can no longer be depended upon.

    1. Joe3

      You are talking about two different things. You can’t give credit were credit is not do; Rebel forces deserve all the credit for getting rid of Mr. Taylor (like Mr. Taylor said he left to maintain the peace). As far as America, they are trying to “remove a thorn from their left side”. Mr. Taylor refused to play ball with America and keep an ongoing conflict in Liberia, thereby earning the title “America’s little thorn in her side” or “the international community black sheep”. They made an example out of Saddam Hussein and now it’s Mr. Taylor’s turn.

      1. Solo-Nyoteh,

        Are justifying the murdering of our people by rebel groups like LURD and MODEL couple with the support of America and U.K. in overthrowing a democratically elected government? Remember now, it was an emerginging democracry where the Liberian people voted overwhelmingly for Mr. Taylor. So because the big powers and their dogs did not like the choice of the “people” they decided to punish them by killing them. Are you ok with that? Bro, if you truly believe in democracy, you will accept everything that comes with it, even if the outcome does not favor you. I join the rest of world that says this is a FAKE CASE.

        1. King Gray

          I’m not justifying nothing. I’m merely stating my opinion, it’s not the tactical support nor the weapons that kills people in a war it’s the soldiers who kills people. If you recruit and train a man to fight on purely anger and vengeful purposes, you created a monster not a solider. The Liberian civil war was filled with monsters not soldiers. Our people (innocent citizens) died by the hand of our own people, by the monster that were created for the sole purpose of wining the war. A conflict involves a disagreement between two separate parties therefore the only innocent people involved in Liberian conflicts were the peace loving citizens of Liberia. Mr. Taylor won the election but he was not a neutral party, he lead the initial conflict. A man can never run a country peacefully when the enemy whom which he fought is still unsatisfied and live within his country. Therefore, President Taylor administration was destined for civil unrest. You can sit and blame the west for their role they played in the conflict but like Prince Johnson stated “the gun that liberates should not rule”.

        2. King Gray,

          Please sit back and relax while I respond to your brilliant post addressing Al Solo Nyonteh.

          Al Solo Nyonteh,

          You said you are not justifying the actions of America and the U.K. role in supporting rebel groups like LURD and MODEL that savagely murdered our people, but you are only stating your opinion. That’s fine boss, but your opinion is justifying the unspeakable horrors and the utter cruel denial of the humanity of mankind by the backed rebels against our people. You also talked about enemy. That’s ok. But that’s why we have election to settle our political differences. Remember now, election has far reaching and irreversible consequences. Let me ask you. Don’t you think Ellen has enemy too? Should Ellen enemies wage war on her because she is their enemy?

          King Gray,
          please leave this with me bro. I beg you. I can handle it.

        3. Jose Rodriguez

          Ultimately, the greatest responsibility goes to the commander and his solider not the suppliers, instigators or supporters. There is no such thing as a respectable war but a commander should have set guide lines which states the rules of combat. If those rules are not established and followed the soldier and commander bears the greatest responsibility for the results. Jose you are right. The suppliers, supporters, and instigators bears a responsibility for the conflict in Liberia. We can go as low to say GOD had a part as well but that would be uncalled for, since the rebel boys had a choice and they chose the brutal path. So please spear the finger pointing. The monsters and individual whom sit the monsters free holds the greatest responsibility for all the innocent lives lost.

          Of course President Ellen have enemies/rivals but she came in through the gate by settling their differences through political debates. When you start off by using the sword to resolve political differences, you will always have to use the sword to resolve political differences.

  24. Stevenson,

    Is there any reason for which my post of December 20 at 5:34pm is pendind?

    Merry xmas

    1. It appears that Mr. Taylor will be serving his time in the United States, if found not guilt in the Hague. I am very confident that the United State will find something to charge and convict Mr. Taylor with. They found something to charge Chunky with and they will find something to charge Mr. Taylor because “It’s the American way”.

    1. Dear noko5,

      Our offices have been closed for the Christmas and New Year holidays, so our moderators have been slow to approve the comments. We apologize for the delay, and you should be able to view your posts now.

      Happy new year,


      1. Taegin,
        It’s apparent that people would take breaks during the holidays or whatever activity; however, in any civilized forum, atleast, people say excuse to others if they have to depart or leave…JUST AN FYI, for the future..thank you

  25. corruption barometer, ranking Liberia as the world’s most corrupt country with a score of 89%, and listing its Judiciary, Legislature, Education, the Business Sector, public officials as the most corrupt institutions in the country.

    TI says the score of 2% represents the severity of corruption in a country, and the media received 2.4%, meaning they are extremely corrupt.

    But the giants for corruption in the country, as their percentages show, are: Police, 4.1%, followed by the Legislature, 3.9%, Education 3.8%, Judiciary, 3.7% and public officials, 3.6%.

    Other luminaries are: political parties, 2.9%. NGOs, 2.5 and the Military, 2.3%. Religious bodies scored the least—1.9%.

    To reach the most corrupt conclusion, TI said it interviewed almost 752, representing 856,516 in its methodology. The interviews were conducted between June 21 to June 26 2010, mainly in the urban areas, TI said.

    TI said more men have faith in the government than women. TI says 30% of men interviewed believe that the government’s methods in fighting corruption is extremely effective, while 26% believe the same. It says 50% of women believe that the government’s fight against corruption is ineffective, while 49% of men believe the same. On the other hand, more women (49%) agreed that they would bribe to circumvent the law, as opposed to men (47%).

    TI: “A 2% of any of the above denotes the severity of corruption and no change in attitude while beyond 2% underscores how extreme corruption has become.

    “Norway and Great Britain are the world’s least corrupt countries with a 1% each followed by Switzerland and Portugal with 2% and 3% respectively.

    “For Sub-Saharan Africa, Ghana is the least corrupt country with 37% followed by Zambia and Kenya with 42% and 45% corruption index respectively.”

    Topping the world list, Liberia scored 89%.

    TI says, 80% of Sub-Saharan Africa are willing to engage to fight corruption while 50% say government is corrupt but 45% trust the government to fight corruption.

    1. Dear noko5,

      Thank you for this information. I am sure the readers will find it interesting. Can you provide a link for anyone who wishes to read more about these corruption statistics?



  26. Folks,

    Liberians reaction to the “WICKED LEAK CABLE”

    “We thank WikiLeaks for exposing all of the criminal acts that America has been doing to our country Liberia. We are not surprised because when Mr. Taylor’s lead-defense visited here, he told Liberians that Taylor’s trial was an international conspiracy. The Americans have got devilish intent and what they have done now is to ensure that Mr. Taylor goes to America for them to render their own trial because it is proven that they have no case against him. It has been clear all along that this was not about Sierra Leone.”

  27. WOW !!!
    ECOWAS is talking about military intervention in the Ivory Coast; by the way, did such method yield any fruit in Liberia with out the uncountable deaths of peaceaful citizens. Is this the first and only solution? Or, are they following their slave masters again? “(DEVIDE AND RULE)”Why are our leaders so naieve and thin minded always. My God! why ECOWAS did not decide military intervention in 2002, when that countries goverment needed them to fight the rebels? Or, is it because the rebels were sent by their slave masters jsut to lie on Charles Taylor. Thank God , this time Taylor is not in that region. But can we now indict /accuse Ellen that, she is using the same tacticks used by she Fallah Menjor and the rest when they successessfully invaded and killed liberians in april 14 1979 . Jesus Christ ! “the old lady is wicked” she is tricking the international community by saying, Liberians should stay out of the Ivorians problems.. But wait a minute !!, why is she the first whistle blower?? What does she knows that we don’t ?

  28. Dear noko5,

    Unfortunately, your comment cannot be approved at this time because the fifth sentence does not comply with the website’s policy. We cannot post a statement of fact that individuals have committed crimes unless they have been convicted by a court of law. If you rephrase this sentence, we will then post your comment.

    Thank you.

    1. Teagin,
      I think you need to revisit Fallahs comments; He came out clearly and stated in this forum that he,the PPP and Ellen stage the april 14th 1979 rice riot in liberia. I did not ask him to make the statement. I am only following his lead. I am sure others hear read it too. Sorry I will not rephrase my statement. You can either post it, don”t. Makes no matter to me..thank you..

  29. So Al-Solo Nyonteh,

    Is it about America abuse of power now? I thought they told us that this FAKE CASE was about Sierra Leone. Why do they want to take Liberia beloved president to their jail house? Will you advocate on behalf of the people of both Liberia and Sierra Leone for America and U.K to apologize for the massive annihilation of the people and the disruption of an emerging democracy of Liberia? FAKE CASE.

    1. Jose Rodriguez

      My friend you are entitled to you own opinion. The American legal system is the last organization in which a man wants a campaign launch against him (because America always get their man). Unfortunately for Mr. Taylor the American legal system may launch a campaign to charge and convict him. What ever the case may be (fake or legitimate) America always get their man. I do find it unfair to Mr. Taylor for how America can use a back door technique to ignore the double jeopardy clause to charge and convict him (if he is found not guilty in the Hague).

      1. Al-Solo Nyonteh,

        At least for now, thanks for having some seizure of conscience in finding it “unfair” to this innocent man the way in which he is being treated by America. No one in his/her right mind will doubt the power of this “Great Country, America.” It will only be a blooming idiot, or a glittering jewel of colossal ignorance will challenge and doubt the powers of American. The gorilla is just too big to wrestle with. And I think President Taylor and his massive supporters understand it. Thank god for Julian Assange, the founder of wikileak, for exposing the schemes and conspiracy against this innocent man.

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