08/02/21 [Finland] Day 4: Presentation of Documentary Evidence (continued)
The fourth day of public hearings resumed with the Defense presentation of documentary evidence.
Defense Counsel for Mr. Massaquoi, Mr. Kaarle Gummerus, began by presenting the following:
- Exhibit D41: News article from the Concord Times, July 2001
According to the Defense, Mr. Massaquoi gave an interview on 17 July 2001 to the Concord Times about the attacks against the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) peacekeepers in Makeni, Sierra Leone. The Defense asserted that the reporter was located in Makeni but acknowledged this was not a proven fact.
- Exhibit D42: News article from L’Express, 26 July 2001
The Defense then asserted that this article indicates that Mr. Massaquoi was at the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) base in Makeni on or slightly before that date. The Defense stated that the reporter noted that Mr. Massaquoi was sitting under a mango tree while they spoke. State Prosecutor, Mr. Tom Laitinen, asked whether the reporter was physically in Makeni, or if Mr. Massaquoi himself had told the reporter that he was sitting under a mango tree. The Defense could not confirm whether the reporter witnessed Mr. Massaquoi in Makeni.
- Exhibit D43: Press release from Reliefweb, 7 August 2001
The Defense presented this UNAMSIL press release, indicating that Mr. Massaquoi was in Makeni at the opening of the Sierra Leonean Truth and Reconciliation (TRC) Community Sensitization Program earlier that week. The Defense noted that Mr. Massaquoi gave comments at the event, thereby demonstrating that he was in Sierra Leone on 2 August 2001.
- Exhibit D44: Communiqué on Reliefweb, 10 August 2001
The Defense next presented a UNAMSIL communiqué they claim indicates Mr. Massaquoi was in Kenema, Sierra Leone (roughly 250 kilometers east of Freetown) on 10 August 2001, where he took part in the agreement between the Government of Sierra Leone and the RUF regarding the extension of the Kono disarmament. According to the Defense, Mr. Massaquoi signed papers relating to the agreement in Kenema. The Defense noted, however, that they have not yet been able to corroborate this theory with primary sources of evidence.
- Exhibit D45: News article from Sierra Leone Web, August 2001
The Defense stated that, on 13 August 2001, Mr. Massaquoi gave an interview to the BBC concerning the events in Kenema. The BBC archive has been closed due to COVID-19, however, and as such, Defense Counsel stated that they could not obtain the original interview to verify where it took place. The Defense also stated that Mr. Massaquoi was in Freetown when the police raided his apartment on 20 August 2001.
The Prosecution questioned whether one could be certain of Mr. Massaquoi’s whereabouts based on this piece of evidence.
- Exhibit D46: Letter to the United Nations, August 2001
The Defense presented a letter from Mr. Massaquoi to the UN, dated 17 August 2001. The Defense conceded that it was Mr. Massaquoi himself who said he was in Makeni when he signed the letter.
- Exhibit D47: UN Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Report, February 2002
The Defense then presented the November 2002 Report of the Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, Its Causes and Consequences, based on her mission to Sierra Leone (21-29 August 2001). In the Report, the Special Rapporteur stated that she met with Mr. Massaquoi. The Defense acknowledged that the exact date of their meeting was not clear from the report.
- Exhibit D48: News article from the Concord Times, 23 August 2001
This article noted that Mr. Massaquoi had visited the Concord Times office in Freetown the day prior.
- Exhibit D49: Letter to the United Nations, 27 August 2001
The Defense stated that Mr. Massaquoi signed this letter to the UN while he was in Makeni. The letter described a meeting to be held in September at RUF headquarters. The Prosecution again noted that it was Mr. Massaquoi himself who explained his whereabouts.
- Exhibit D50: Press release from Reliefweb (orig. UNAMSIL), 1 September 2001
The Defense presented this press release as evidence that Massaquoi met with the Acting Force Commander of UNAMSIL in Makeni on either 30 August or 1 September 2001. According to the article, the discussion related to a meeting scheduled for 3 September 2001 in Kono.
- Exhibit D51: News article from the Standard Times, 7 September 2001
The Defense then presented this article to show Mr. Massaquoi took part in a meeting in Kono from 3 to 4 September 2001. Mr. Massaquoi commented on the meeting, but it was not clear from the article if he was present.
- Exhibit D52: Statement by the Concord Times, September 2001
On 10 September 2001, the Concord Times made a statement which noted that “the other day Gibril Massaquoi was in our office.” The Defense cited this statement as evidence that Mr. Massaquoi was in Freetown around the 8 September 2001. The exact day of the visit, however, was not clear.
- Exhibit D53: News article from the Concord Times, September 2001
On 10 September 2001, Mr. Massaquoi gave an interview to the Concord Times in Makeni. The Defense asserted that this interview showed Mr. Massaquoi’s motives and interests during that time.
- Exhibit D54: News report from Reliefweb (orig. UNAMSIL), September 2001
This article, dated 19 September 2001, stated that Mr. Massaquoi took part in a Joint Committee on Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) meeting as a member of the RUF delegation on 18 September 2001. The article also referenced upcoming meetings, including one scheduled for 11 October 2001 in Freetown.
- Exhibit D55: Photograph in a news article from Justiceinfo.net, April 2020
This article included a photograph of Mr. Massaquoi captioned “Gibril Massaquoi, when he was spokesman for the Revolutionary United Front, speaking to journalists in Makeni, northern Sierra Leone, in September 2001.” The Defense noted that they do not have access to an international photograph repository, so the only available information related to the photograph is the caption.
- Exhibit D56: News article from Sierra Leone Web, October 2001
This Sierra Leone Web article from October 2001 purportedly showed that Mr. Massaquoi took part in a conference on 11 October 2001. The Defense acknowledged that, though Mr. Massaquoi commented on the conference, they could not confirm whether he took part in it.
The same article reported that on 15 October 2001, Mr. Massaquoi announced he was moving from Makeni to Freetown, where the RUF’s new offices were located. On 29 October 2001, he responded to reports of his alleged expulsion by RUF leadership from Makeni to Freetown. The Defense pointed to this exhibit to show Mr. Massaquoi was in Makeni or Freetown during this time.
- Exhibit D57: News article from Reliefweb (orig. Reuters), 31 October 2001
This article stated that Mr. Massaquoi was in Tongo “last week,” thus suggesting he was there between 22 and 26 October 2001. The Prosecution requested the source of this information, but the Defense could not offer anything beyond what was stated in the article.
- Exhibit D58: Sierra Leone Humanitarian Situation Report, October-November 2001
This report by the UN Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) covered the period from 16 October to 5 November 2001. It describes the UN evacuation of Mr. Massaquoi to Freetown at the end of October 2001 due to conflicts within the RUF. The Defense did not claim that the reporter was present during the evacuation.
- Exhibit D59: News Article from Reliefweb (orig. The Christian Science Monitor), 7 November 2001
In this article, a reporter described Mr. Massaquoi as someone who “fiddles with his heavy gold rings…”. The Defense inferred from this detail that the reporter spoke with Mr. Massaquoi in person while in Makeni. The Defense conceded, however, that the exact date of the meeting was unclear.
- Exhibit D60: Report from Reliefweb (Sierra Leone Humanitarian Situation Report), March 2002:
The final piece of evidence presented by Defense in the morning session was this OCHA report covering the period of 1-31 March 2002. The report stated that, on 24 March 2002, former RUF combatants attacked Mr. Massaquoi in Segbwema, Kailahun District, Sierra Leone.
The morning session ended at 11:30.
The afternoon session started at 12:46.
The Defense continued with a presentation of documentary evidence, summarized with relevant discussion as follows:
- Exhibit D61: News article from the Sierra Leone Web, 3 April 2002
In this article Mr. Massaquoi gave a phone interview. The article referenced internal conflict within the RUF and stated that Mr. Massaquoi pledged his support to Mr. Foday Sankoh.
- Exhibit D62: News article from the Concord Times, 19 April 2002
According to this article, Mr. Massaquoi personally delivered a protest letter to the National Electoral Commission (NEC) and the Concord Times.
- Exhibit D63: News article from the Concord Times, 22 April 2002
This article referred to ongoing internal conflict within the RUF. The Defense noted this quarrel might become relevant later in the trial.
- Exhibit D64: News article from Sierra Leone Web, September 2002
This article stated that Mr. Massaquoi had a fishing project which he said would continue for the next 18 months. In the article, Mr. Massaquoi distanced himself from the RUF, claiming that he had no political links to them, and that he had no involvement with executions within the RUF or with hostilities towards civilians.
- Exhibit D65: Out Of Court Statements Made By TF1-046 to SCSL Office of the Prosecutor
This was a list of statements made by Mr. Massaquoi for the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) Office of the Prosecutor (OTP). Each statement featured a date and a place that demonstrated when and where they were given. The Prosecution questioned whether Mr. Massaquoi sent the statements to the OTP himself. The Defense replied that he had, and that there were also oral statements recorded in the OTP offices. As an example, the Defense referred to a recording of Mr. Massaquoi on 3 December 2002 in which he was heard saying “we are sitting here at the offices in Freetown.” The Defense also referred to statements that Mr. Massaquoi signed and dated. In response, the Prosecution asked whether there were stamps that acknowledged when the statements were received. The Defense said that there were not.
- Exhibit D66: News article from Sierra Leone Web, October 2002
According to this article, Mr. Massaquoi was questioned by Sierra Leone’s Criminal Investigations Department. The Defense asserted that, because it was the Sierra Leone Criminal Investigations Department, it could be presumed to have happened in Sierra Leone.
- Exhibit D67: Witness Protection Agreement, 23 October 2002
This agreement for witness protection (presumably for testimony before the SCSL) was signed on 23 October 2002. Mr. Massaquoi was told that everything he said could be used against him if he committed human rights violations, and thus there was a risk in cooperating with the SCSL investigation.
Following the presentation of this exhibit, Mr. Laitinen and Mr. Gummerus discussed the phrasing of the document, agreeing that it warned of possible risk of prosecution.
- Exhibit D68: News article from Sierra Leone Web, March 2003
According to this article, Mr. Massaquoi’s fishing project was accepted. Defense Counsel noted that, according to the article, Sierra Leone’s former Head of State, Mr. Johnny Paul Koroma, was still alive at the time of publication.
- Exhibit D69: Police Report on Finding Witnesses
This exhibit listed witnesses and detailed how and when they were found. The Defense pointed out that Finland’s National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) used individuals associated with Civitas Maxima to interview witnesses in 2018, and therefore, there was a link between this case and the organisation. The Defense listed several witnesses located in Monrovia that they claimed were related to Civitas Maxima. The Defense also noted that the name “Angel Gabriel” came up in the witness hearings. The Defense questioned how certain individuals could know that some of the witnesses in this trial were former soldiers. The Defense also stated that some witnesses were found with the help of others who had a link to Civitas Maxima. The Defense then highlighted that this witness group’s identification percentage was much higher than any other. According to the Defense, over 90% of information was shared between these witnesses prior to the interviews. The Defense asserted that issues relevant to this case had been discussed with the witnesses.
The Prosecution then briefly rebutted by stating that there was no difference between witnesses that were not to be heard in this process and those that will be heard.
The presentation of this evidence ended with the Defense asserting that there were many problematic witnesses on the list, and that certain witnesses had information about the matters relevant to the case before the NBI carried out its interviews.
- Exhibit D70: News article from CNN, 14 August 2003
The Defense presented this article, titled “Hungry Liberians storm port”, to provide historical and contextual background. It described events during a food shortage in Monrovia, which, the Defense noted, led to robberies. According to the Defense, this evidence also regarded where witnesses were during certain events. The Defense asserted that Mr. Massaquoi was already in a safehouse and thus could not have been at the port. The Prosecution asked the Defense whether it presumed that, when witnesses spoke about robberies, they were speaking about this particular event. The Defense stated that, if witnesses made statements about food shortages and robberies, it would be in reference to events occurring in 2003, even if the witnesses could not remember the year correctly. The Defense also clarified that the port was the Port of Monrovia.
- Exhibit D71: News article from the Guardian, 28 June 2003
This article, titled, “Hundreds killed in Monrovia chaos,” described a four-day battle for Monrovia, which took place while the people of the city struggled with hunger and potential epidemics.
While presenting this article, the Defense explained that in the summer of 2003, 42 people were murdered on the Johnson Street Bridge in Monrovia. This evidence was presented to pre-emptively raise the credibility of certain witnesses. The Defense asked the Court to specifically note that Johnson Street Bridge was in the Waterside area. The Prosecution noted that there was another bridge there and both parties agreed that they would need to mark the boundaries of the Waterside area.
- Exhibit D72: Video Clip Used for Identification
A video clip was shown to the court, with no additional comments.
- Exhibit D73: Associated Press Archive Video
The Defense stated that this video would show that Mr. Massaquoi was in Lunsar on 23 July 1999. The video could not be shown to the court, however, due to technical issues.
- Exhibit D74: Interview with Mr. Gibril Massaquoi, May 2001 (video and metadata)
The Defense presented a videotaped interview with Mr. Massaquoi, along with the video’s metadata, which indicated that the video was filmed in Makeni and published on 12 May 2001.
- Exhibit D75: Expert Opinion regarding the timing of “World War I, II and III”
The Defense noted that in March 2003, the Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) had moved towards Monrovia, but had not yet arrived. The Defense raised this because they believed witnesses were likely to discuss it, and that they would like expert opinion on whether such things happened in 2001 or 2002. The Defense said that they had located an expert who had conducted research about the situation in Monrovia in 2003 and earlier. The Prosecution had no objection to the use of experts generally but warned that experts may not be able to speak to all the things that witnesses describe.
- Exhibit D76: Picture of Mr. Gibril Massaquoi
The Defense proffered this picture, taken in Sierra Leone and dated 26 September 2001, while also referring to an article in Helsingin Sanomat, dated September 2001. The Defense noted that metadata from international photograph repositories would make it easier to demonstrate the relevant dates.
- Exhibit D77: News article from the Concord Times, 29 November 2001
According to this article, titled, “Makeni Declared No-Go Area for RUF Spokesman,” Mr. Massaquoi escaped Makeni after having some problems with his superior. Mr. Massaquoi relayed this information to the press and was said to have been in Freetown waiting for an investigation.
The hearing ended at 15:09 and will resume on Thursday, 11 February 2021.