12/05/21 [Sierra Leone] Day 29: The Hearing of Witnesses 59, 60, and 61
The 29th day of public hearings resumed on 12 May 2021 in Freetown, Sierra Leone.
Defense Witness 04 is Heard (W59)
Defense questions Defense Witness 04
Defense Witness 04 began his testimony by describing how he knew Gibril Massaquoi, stating that he met him in Freetown after the Lomé peace processes. The Witness worked for the government, in the intelligence service, for nine years, starting in 1998. He stated that Mr. Massaquoi was with Foday Sankoh, but he didn’t know what position he held. He was certain that he met Mr. Massaquoi after 1998, but could not recall the exact year they met. He explained that he met him at a tripartite meeting with the government, the RUF, and the UN, which was held around Mammy Yoko in Sierra Leone, but that he also met Mr. Massaquoi multiple times after that. The Witness explained that Mr. Massaquoi used to visit him at his office at State House, where they had private meetings, but he couldn’t remember the year these meetings were held.
The Witness offered that Mr. Massaquoi represented the RUF, noting that, as part of the RUF delegation, he provided comments during discussions. The Witness clarified that these types of meetings were held in Freetown, Makeni, and Kono. He recalled that the meetings ended in February.
Turning back to the topic of the private meetings between the Witness and Mr. Massaquoi, the Witness clarified that the meetings took place in his office in Freetown, but also at other RUF locations or at the place of FNM – 202. The Witness said they met in his office a couple of times, where they discussed peace and moving forward. He confirmed that he met Mr. Massaquoi after negotiations ended in February 2002, and they still just spoke of peace. There was no regular pattern to their meetings, rather, their meetings would arise casually, as needed or desired. They would call one another to set a meeting, and if Mr. Massaquoi was in town, he might arrive within 10-15 minutes, or they would arrange another day, depending on what was convenient. When asked whether they typically met on the same day or scheduled it for another day, the Witness repeated that it depended. The Witness was sure he had met Mr. Massaquoi in 2003, and indicated that this was clear in his memory because the peace was in 2002, and they met shortly afterwards in his office. Again, he offered that the meetings taking place at this time occurred as needed. He further indicated that they stopped meeting when Mr. Massaquoi left Sierra Leone.
The Defense turned to the topic of the Special Court, asking the Witness whether he knew what it was. He knew what it was, and indicated that Mr. Massaquoi had something to do with it. He was asked whether Mr. Massaquoi had any special protection from the Special Court, and whether he knew Johnny Paul Koroma. The Witness indicated that Mr. Koroma was a one-time head of state in Sierra Leone, who formed a political party called the PLP. He further stated that he participated in the elections in either 2002 or 2007, and that he did not know what happened after the election. When asked whether he knew Sam Bockarie, the Witness replied that he had heard his name. He knew that Bockarie was a commander in the RUF, and that he died in Liberia, but was unsure as to when he went to Liberia.
The Witness noted that he could not remember the last time he heard from Mr. Massaquoi. He confirmed that he was contacted by the Finnish investigators on 15 October 2020. He noted that, before that interview, Mr. Massaquoi would send emails and call him, but clarified that he received this type of communication long before the hearing.
The Prosecution questions Defense Witness 04
The Prosecution opened by asking the Witness to state his job, and the Witness confirmed that he was head of intelligence services at the time. The Witness confirmed that this role meant that he had a solid understanding of events occurring in Sierra Leone. The Witness was asked whether he had knowledge of any RUF involvement in the Liberian Civil War.
The Prosecution then asked why the meetings between the Witness and Mr. Massaquoi were held privately. The Witness explained that they used to discuss issues as friends, with the goal of moving things forward. The Prosecution then sought to clarify whether the private meetings were held during the tripartite meetings, or at some other point. The Witness noted that, though he met Mr. Massaquoi during the tripartite meetings, that didn’t mean they discussed anything in particular. He further elaborated that he was at the meetings for the government, Mr. Massaquoi was there for the RUF, and that the UN was also there. During the meetings, he offered, each side had its own spokesperson and any communications were made through them. As for the first meeting between him and Mr. Massaquoi in his office, he declined to specify a year, noting that he did not want to give the wrong date. He confirmed that his office was at State House in Freetown, and that he met Mr. Massaquoi in 2003 and sometime afterwards, though again repeated that he was not sure of the date.
When asked whether, during the private meetings, Mr. Massaquoi told the Witness where he traveled, the Witness noted that they did not discuss Mr. Massaquoi’s past. He clarified that Mr. Massaquoi would travel to the provinces for family visits, and that those were the only trips he spoke of. He did not tell the Witness of any trips outside Sierra Leone. The Prosecution asked whether Mr. Massaquoi told the Witness that he traveled with the RUF to Liberia as part of the peace delegation. The Witness responded that he had not told him this, and that he didn’t ask him about it, as he met him after the peace agreement. The Prosecution noted that Mr. Massaquoi previously said that he was in Monrovia to negotiate peace, and the Witness repeated that he met him after the peace, and had no idea whether he negotiated peace with Charles Taylor.
With respect to communication between the Witness and Mr. Massaquoi, the Witness stated that he used a mobile phone. He clarified that Mr. Massaquoi used a regular phone when he called from Finland. He explained that he knew the difference between calls received from a mobile phone compared to calls received from a satellite phone, and used his phone to demonstrate how one reviews the country code of an incoming call. While Mr. Massaquoi was in Finland, the Witness received calls with a Finnish country code, whereas the calls he received from Mr. Massaquoi while he was in Sierra Leone came from a local number.
The Prosecution then shifted its questioning, asking the Witness whether he knew a person called FNM-203 and then whether the Witness knew of the AFRC. The Witness did not know FNM-203 and did not know whether he was the president’s brother. The Witness explained that AFRC stood for the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council, which took over in 1998 and called the RUF to join them to fight against the Sierra Leonean government.
Finally, the Witness stated that Mr. Massaquoi’s role during the tripartite negotiations was to pass on the views of the RUF. When asked whether he was a leader of the delegation, he clarified that Mr. Massaquoi was a member, and stated that the leader of the delegation varied, depending on who was the most senior member present. He denied knowing that Mr. Massaquoi met with Charles Taylor, responding that Mr. Massaquoi neither told him that this happened, nor did he learn this through his work.
Additional Questions to the Witness
Defense Counsel asked the Witness to elaborate on the process by which he was able to recognize a satellite number. The Witness noted that, with a satellite call, the code is different, so it was clear that it was not a Sierra Leonean number. He further indicated that the sound is different. The Defense also asked the Witness to clarify when he and Mr. Massaquoi had their private meetings. The Witness confirmed that they met privately, and explained that these meetings occurred after the peace negotiations were over.
The Defense asked whether the Witness recalled his statement to the Finnish police on 15 October 2020, and the Witness noted he did: he told them that he became the head of ONS in 2002, when a law was passed. Referring to his statement, Defense asked whether this happened in July 2002. The Witness stated that he was sure the year was correct, but not the month. He recalled meeting with Mr. Massaquoi when he became the head, and that they were going to work on a project, but it did not come to be. He explained that they were going to write a book or article, but they could not publish it, so stopped working on it. He clarified that they only got some “jottings” down, but reaffirmed they did not write a book, nor did they meet often for the book project. Defense Counsel asked whether he knew if Mr. Massaquoi had more than just notes on this project, and he stated that he did not. According to the Witness, he stopped having access to Mr. Massaquoi when the trial at the Special Court started and when he left for Finland.
Defense Counsel finished by asking the Witness when he thought Mr. Massaquoi started working with the Special Court, and whether the Witness believed that he was confined while working with the Special Court. The Witness stated that he did not know, he only remembered that they were not in contact. The Defense clarified, asking the Witness whether he believed that Mr. Massaquoi would have kept in touch with the Witness had he been able to freely communicate from the Special Court.
Prosecution asks further questions of the Witness
The Prosecution closed by asking when the Witness stopped meeting with Mr. Massaquoi. The Witness again stated that he was not sure of the date, but it was when he started working with the Special Court. He also declined to provide a year when asked, noting that he did not want to provide an incorrect date. He further offered that it was only after Mr. Massaquoi had arrived in Finland that he called to tell the Witness that he traveled there.
Defense Witness 13 is Heard (W60)
Defense Counsel questions Witness 13
Defense Counsel opened by asking how the Witness knew Mr. Massaquoi. Witness 13 revealed that Mr. Massaquoi was her boyfriend and she met him for the first time in late 1999 early 2000 in Freetown. The Witness couldn’t state with certainty the date their relationship started but recalled that there was peace and ceasefire and the Junta and the government were “working together” with the RUF, specifying that the Junta had overthrown the government. The Witness and Massaquoi used to meet in Freetown, and the Witness indicated that Massaquoi worked as a spokesman for the RUF.
The Witness and Mr. Massaquoi met two-three times a week at the Witness’s place in Freetown, as Massaquoi was engaged in a marital relationship at the time with wife, FNM-192, and kids. According to the Witness, Massaquoi and his family lived somewhere around Kissy, in Eastern Freetown. Asked whether she knew of Massaquoi travelling abroad, the Witness said she had heard of him travelling and estimated that it occured around the time the “Prosecutors had come to prosecute Foday Sankoh”. The Witness indicated that she was in Freetown the entire time except on two occasions where she travelled to Gambia and Liberia. She specified that during the 8th May incident she went abroad to Banjul in Gambia. When asked by the Defense how the 8th May event related to Massaquoi, the Witness declared that there was a problem with the RUF and the government. She further explained that Massaquoi was in Freetown when she left for Banjul but he later informed her by phone that he was in Makeni.
During the same phone call the Witness informed Massaquoi of her desire to go to Monrovia in order to meet someone. Massaquoi was due to travel to Monrovia to attend peace talks, so they met there. The Witness clarified that she was pregnant with Massaquoi’s child at the time and situated it around 2001-2002. She specified that after the 8th May, she first travelled to Banjul in Gambia for a few months before heading to Monrovia. The Witness explained that Massaquoi was using a satellite phone as mobile phones were not so common, and she knew it was a satellite phone because he used one when working at the office with Sankoh. She later specified that she only contacted Massaquoi one time when she was in Banjul, when she was going to Monrovia, and she stated that she did so because he was her boyfriend and she needed money, recalling that he had paid her fare to travel to Monrovia.
The Witness indicated that she stayed in a different location than Massaquoi in Monrovia. While she stayed with a friend, Massaquoi stayed in a house provided by the government of Liberia. She couldn’t indicate where in Monrovia this house was located but named two persons – FNM-204 and a man named Kenneth – that she knew resided there. The Witness later explained that the three of them, Massaquoi, FNM-204, and Kenneth, were given the same mission regarding the peace talks, so Massaquoi had told her. Asked about her meetings with Massaquoi in Monrovia, the Witness stated that they took place at her place. She indicated that Massaquoi left for about a week to Guinea in order to hold some meetings regarding the peace talks. She explained that at the time, there was a ceasefire in both Sierra Leone and Liberia. The Witness didn’t recall whether Massaquoi went to Sierra Leone during that time. She did recall however that she found out about her pregnancy about one month after arriving in Monrovia and that she notified Massaquoi straight after his return from Guinea.
The Witness indicated that she gave birth a few months after returning to Freetown and that Massaquoi was already in Freetown before she left Monrovia. Massaquoi came to visit her and the baby roughly twice a week at her place in Tengbeh Town. The Witness added that she did not hear from Massaquoi again once he went with the Special Court, noting that the child was about one year old. The Witness said that Massaquoi’s brothers originally kept the reason for his absence a secret, but later she found out that he was with the Special Court. Asked whether Massaquoi travelled abroad during that time, the Witness replied that she knows Massaquoi travelled with the Special court. The Witness clarified that, after she gave birth, Massaquoi was living with his family and his brothers, among whom she named Witness 10, Witness 6 and FNM-178, who visited her. She specified that FNM-178 was the one who regularly visited her and the baby to bring supplies for the child when Massaquoi was with the Special Court, as Massaquoi was put in an “isolated place”.
The Witness answered the last questions regarding Massaquoi’s activities. She explained that before Massaquoi’s isolation, the peace process in Sierra Leone was not active, since the RUF leader had been arrested and they were preparing for the Special Court. She explained that Massaquoi was involved in politics with the RUFP prior to the 8th May incident. The Witness reiterated that she didn’t see Massaquoi again once he was put in special custody by the Special court.
Prosecution Counsel questions Witness 13
The Prosecution opened by asking about when the Witness met Mr. Massaquoi. The Witness started by explaining that in 1999 the junta overthrew the democratic government. When prompted by the Prosecutor, the Witness stated that she was married when she began a relationship with Massaquoi in Sierra Leone but did not wish to disclose her husband’s name, but finally confirmed his first name, FNM-203. Upon the Prosecution’s insistence, the Witness indicated that her husband was active in the NPRC and the AFRC. She specified that he was arrested along Massaquoi during the reign of the AFRC junta.
Regarding her trip to Gambia, the Witness stated that she left Freetown immediately after the 8th May incident. She went to Gambia because she has family. The Witness clarified that it was her decision but told Massaquoi about it because she needed money for the transportation. At that time the Witness used phone booths to reach Massaquoi, who had a satellite phone with him and other RUF members, including someone called FNM-205. She explained that they and their RUF leader used the phone at the office.
The Witness confirmed staying a few months in Gambia before going to Monrovia. The Prosecution estimated that she was in Monrovia by July, to which the Witness replied that it was possible but that she couldn’t recall the month. She reiterated that Massaquoi arrived shortly after her. According to the Prosecution, Massaquoi stated that he arrived in Monrovia in August. Based on the Witness’ testimony, the Prosecution estimated that the Witness went back to Freetown around April-May 2001. The Witness retorted that she gave birth in July so “it must have been around that time”. The Prosecution insisted on the chronology with additional questions. The Witness explained that Massaquoi was already in Freetown when she came back to Sierra Leone. She also stated that they only saw each other for a few months before Massaquoi’s movements were limited due to the special court. Asked whether it could have been 2001, the Witness answered that she didn’t know when the special court was implemented but recalled that around that time some of Massaquoi’s brothers told her he was with the special court.
The Witness reiterated her ignorance of the time, only stating that she had her child in July 2002. The Prosecution then noted the inconsistency with the answer the Witness had just given to the Defense, where she stated 2001 as the year she gave birth. The Witness retorted that she said “between that time” and that her son is twenty years old.
The Prosecution then confronted the Witness with the testimony of Defense Witness 21 (Day 28) who said that in 2002 he went to Monrovia to collect Massaquoi’s daughter and that the Witness (Witness 13) was present. The Witness retorted that she didn’t know about it and that she didn’t meet with Massaquoi’s daughter nor did she know who Defense Witness 21 was. The Witness insisted her child was born in Freetown and specified that she gave birth at home, not in a hospital. When asked about Massaquoi only travelling abroad with the special court, the Witness answered that she didn’t have knowledge of his personal life, as she was just his girlfriend. She added that she didn’t give a birth certificate for her son, so she couldn’t be sure of the year. The Prosecution asked if the year was 2002, could it be that the Witness was in Monrovia in 2002. The Witness answered that it could be.
Asked about her time in Monrovia, the Witness reiterated that Massaquoi lived with two friends of his and that he also lived with her sometimes. She didn’t know where the house Massaquoi stayed in was located, as she didn’t know Monrovia well. When Massaquoi was with the special court she didn’t hear from him, only from his brothers. When confronted with the fact that some witnesses said they kept contact with Massaquoi during his time with the special court, the Witness replied that she didn’t know about it, restating that she only heard from Massaquoi’s brothers. The Prosecution then asked the Witness whether she had any understanding of the activities of Massaquoi in Monrovia when he was not with her. She replied that she only knew that he was going for peace meetings.
The Witness then declared that she stayed with a longtime friend, FNM-206, in Monrovia. She explained that she went to Monrovia because she needed a change, as things were not going well for her in Gambia. The Prosecution asked for details regarding her stay in Monrovia. The Witness indicated that it was coincidence that Massaquoi was also due to travel to Monrovia. She further said that she was a guest at her friend’s house so she didn’t pay for rent. The Witness clarified that she didn’t know whether her friend owned the house but her friend had been living there for a time.
When asked by the Prosecution, the Witness indicated that Massaquoi had travelled with the special court and that she had heard about it from his brothers. The Witness specified that the brothers informed her that Massaquoi travelled but she wasn’t sure whether it was with the special court or not. She added that she was only his girlfriend and that their interactions were mainly about the support of their son.
Defense Counsel questions Witness 13
The Defense asked the Witness about her time in Monrovia. The Witness stated that it lasted less than a year. Then the Defense questioned the Witness about the interview with the Finnish police in October 2020. According to the Defense, the police recorded the Witness’s son as being nineteen years old and 2001 as the year of birth. The Witness replied that she didn’t remember the exact year as her son doesn’t live with her anymore and she doesn’t check his records.
The Witness stated that after she gave birth she continued seeing Massaquoi for some time. According to the Defense, the Witness had told the police that Massaquoi was active in the disarmament process in Freetown. The Witness confirmed, adding that it was a normal process for all former RUF members. She also confirmed that Massaquoi participated in the elections in 2002, as the RUF had transformed into a political party.
Defense Witness 11 is Heard (W61)
Defense Counsel questions Defense Witness 11
Defense Counsel opened by asking how the Witness knew Mr. Massaquoi. The Witness was a radio operator for the RUF, and met Mr. Massaquoi, who was also in the RUF, in Lunsar in 1999. Towards the end of 1999, or into 2000, they met again at Foday Sankoh’s residence in Freetown on Spur Road. The Witness elaborated that he was Foday Sankoh’s radio operator at Secret Signal Broadcasting, and that Mr. Massaquoi was Sankoh’s personal assistant, serving as an intermediary between Sankoh and the combatants in the jungle. Later, the Witness noted that Mr. Massaquoi’s nickname was “Jafa”.
The Witness and Mr. Massaquoi met at Sankoh’s residence every day. The Witness did not recall that Mr. Massaquoi traveled abroad at that time, specifying that this was after the Lomé Accord. They stayed at Sankoh’s Spur Road residence from early 2000 until 8 May 2000, when they were attacked. After the attack, the Witness, along with Mr. Massaquoi, Superman, and a man named FNM-207, whose real name the Witness did not know, fled to the mountains and traveled through the jungle to reach their men in Lunsar. Once they reached Lunsar, they contacted the headquarters where Issa Sesay was based. Sesay told them to wait until night, and then they traveled to Makeni. Once they reached Makeni, they were in a safe zone, so everyone was free to go where they wished. The Witness stayed in Makeni for some time, as did Mr. Massaquoi, who left Makeni only to attend a meeting in Kono.
The Witness described this Kono meeting, which was hosted by Issa Sesay in September of 2000, and included Mr. Massaquoi and other revolutionary commanders. At that meeting, Sesay appointed Mr. Massaquoi as the head of the external delegation that would take place in September. After the Kono meeting, Mr. Massaquoi planned to travel to Monrovia to start the peace process with the other members of the delegation, including Issay Sesay, Edwin Bockarie, and a convoy. They had to travel to Liberia for the peace process, the Witness explained, because Foday Sankoh was nowhere to be found and they needed to see how it would be implemented. The Witness added that, after the attack, Foday Sankoh was arrested and kept in prison until he died.
The Witness noted that he also traveled to Liberia separately. After Mr. Massaquoi left, they started receiving threats that the rebels would cut off their route to Liberia, and their commander said, “at times for peace, prepare for war”. The supply route passed through Foya, Fura, Voinjama, and Gbarnga. In response to this threat, the RUF developed a mission, led by Witness 7, to clear the supply route of enemy attacks and allow free movement. The Witness was selected as the radio operator for the mission. He initially stated that this mission took place in 2000, but corrected himself and clarified that it was in May 2001. The RUF troops for this mission were stationed at Foya on the Kolahun highway. They did not stay in Liberia for a long time, as the disarmament started at the end of June in Kailahun, and some men started leaving. The RUF troops acted on their own, not with Liberian troops, but they received support and ammunition from Benjamin Yeaten, who the Witness described as a commander. The Witness further stated that Liberian troops were stationed elsewhere.
The Witness did not see Mr. Massaquoi while he was in Liberia. He explained that Mr. Massaquoi went there for the peace process, but he did not see Mr. Massaquoi traveling in the country. Responding to a question posed by Defense Counsel, the Witness noted that he himself was not in Liberia in October 2000, and further offered that Mr. Massaquoi left Liberia before the Witness arrived in May 2001. The Witness knew that Mr. Massaquoi left Liberia before May 2001 because he saw Mr. Massaquoi back in Kono, on his way to Makeni from Liberia. He stated that Mr. Massaquoi had spent about three days in Liberia and reaffirmed that this was during October 2000. The Witness further reiterated that he did not see Mr. Massaquoi while he was in Liberia.
Defense Counsel asked the Witness who the commanders of the RUF were in Liberia at that time. The Witness stated that Issa Sesay was the commander, and that Sesay instructed Witness 7 to clear the supply route. The Witness noted that there were other commanders, including Bomb Blast and Double Killers. The fighters were divided into different squads, which each had its own commander. Witness 7’s group had no special name; they were simply part of the RUF. There was no fixed number of people who went to fight, and the number of fighters increased as the RUF soldiers looted property. The Witness stayed with Witness 7 until they both returned from Liberia, as he had security protocols to follow as a radio operator to ensure that their information did not fall into enemy hands. The Witness offered that they were the last batch to return, as some men had fled to take part in the disarmament. Once they returned to Sierra Leone, there were no more RUF people fighting in Liberia, and the LURD rebels quickly took over Lofa, Foya, and Voinjama. With respect to the Liberians, Defense Counsel asked the Witness whether he knew which direction they went when they withdrew. The Witness did not know, but offered that he and the Sierra Leoneans had gone to Buedu, in Sierra Leone.
The subject then shifted to the Witness’ interactions with Mr. Massaquoi after his return to Sierra Leone. After the Witness returned, he stayed in Kono until November 2001 when the disarmament took place, and then went to Freetown. At that time, the RUF had transformed into the RUFP, a political party. The Witness wanted to know what was happening in the party, so went to the office located at Lightfoot Boston Street. He met Mr. Massaquoi there again in early January 2002. He remembered meeting Mr. Massaquoi because, after the death of Sankoh, Mr. Massaquoi played an important role in the organization. He met Mr. Massaquoi at the Lightfoot Boston Street office and occasionally at the DDR office, which was in the same western area of Freetown. The Witness explained that they would go to the party office to “get our daily bread”, and as a result, he and Mr. Massaquoi met regularly in Freetown. At the DDR office, the Witness explained, Mr. Massaquoi was assisting the RUFP in organizing for the 2002 election. The Witness did not recall the month in which this election took place and did not recall meeting Mr. Massaquoi anywhere else.
Finally, the Witness affirmed that he recalled his interview of 17 October 2020 with Finnish police, and that nobody from Finland other than the Finnish police contacted him.
The Prosecution questions Witness 11
The Prosecution opened by asking the Witness about Mr. Massaquoi’s appointment as head of the external delegation for the peace process, and which countries and peace processes Mr. Massaquoi was involved in. The Witness stated that Mr. Massaquoi was involved in the peace process in Sierra Leone, and that the delegation was sent to Monrovia to negotiate with Liberian authorities to assist with the peace process. According to the Witness, Liberia was viewed by the Sierra Leoneans as the only friendly country they could ask for assistance in this process. The Witness clarified that this was the RUF perspective, not that of the Sierra Leonean government, as the RUF sought to free Foday Sankoh to facilitate the peace process. He elaborated that the RUF viewed Liberia as a friendly country because they needed contacts, and Foday Sankoh and Charles Taylor had a good relationship then, so believed they could easily work with Liberia.
The Witness then responded to questions about the rebel attacks on the RUF’s supply route to Monrovia. He explained that the RUF had a route to Monrovia to facilitate the movement of supplies, such as rice and ammunition. The Witness confirmed that Taylor’s government was supplying arms to the RUF at that time, and that Witness 7 was sent to clear the route. Referring to the Witness’ pre-trial statement, the Prosecution noted that the Witness had provided the name of Witness 7. The Witness thought that could be Witness 7’s real name but was not sure. He confirmed that there were already Liberian troops stationed in the area near the route, and was asked to explain why the RUF was sent to clear the route if the Liberians were already there. The Witness stated that the RUF viewed the route as an important responsibility to maintain, given that they relied on it to receive sustenance and weapons, and would be greatly affected were it cut off.
The Witness was asked to clarify whether the RUF was fighting with the Liberians, and the Witness explained that each side had its own mission. With respect to assistance provided to the RUF from Liberia, the Witness stated that the RUF provided its own troops and weapons, and that support from Liberia for this mission was limited to the ammunition they received from Benjamin Yeaten. When pressed by the Prosecution as to whether the RUF was fighting against LURD rebels with the Liberians, the Witness stated that the Sierra Leonean fighters would only take instructions from Sierra Leonean commanders, not from Liberians.
The Prosecution turned back to the topic of Mr. Massaquoi’s delegation trip to Liberia in 2000. The Witness confirmed that this trip took place, and that Issa Sesay also traveled with Mr. Massaquoi. The Witness did not know whether Mr. Massaquoi traveled to Liberia with other RUF members at another point, and stated that he knew solely of this one single trip. The Prosecution noted that Mr. Massaquoi had already been heard by this Court, and had indicated that he traveled to Liberia more frequently that year, as well as in 2001. The Witness denied knowledge of these trips, stating that he was not around at the time, and knew only of the one trip.
The Prosecution then asked whether the Witness had heard of FNM-209. The Witness noted that he knew someone with this name, another Sierra Leonean radio operator for the RUF. FNM-209 was stationed in Monrovia, and had been sent there long before the peace processes. FNM-209 was sent to Monrovia to feed information from Liberia to Mosquito, and to set up a link between the RUF and any Liberian leader they wanted to contact. Information was provided on a daily basis, and the post was set up because of the good relationship between Foday Sankoh and the Liberian government. The Witness admitted that the information related to RUF activity, though he noted that he was not there himself.
The Prosecution then asked the Witness whether he knew Benjamin Yeaten or Zig Zag Marzah. The Witness explained that Benjamin Yeaten was a commander in the NPFL. He was not sure exactly how high-ranking Yeaten was, but he knew that when Issa Sesay wanted to contact Charles Taylor, they would go through Yeaten. The Witness did not know whether Mr. Massaquoi was in contact with Charles Taylor. Turning to the Witness’ knowledge of Zig Zag Marzah, the Prosecution asked whether the Witness recalled telling the Finnish police that Zig Zag was stationed around Foya and the towns along the road that the Witness had mentioned. The Witness affirmed that Zig Zag had been in this area but would intermittently travel to other areas. When asked whether he had heard of the code name “50”, the Witness confirmed that he heard the name, but offered that he never saw the actual person. He also confirmed that he did see Benjamin Yeaten, back before the peace talks when Yeaten would come to Buedu, where Issa Sesay and Mosquito were based. The Witness did not know whether Benjamin Yeaten committed offences in Liberia.
The subject of the questioning then shifted back to the supply route, with the Prosecution asking the Witness why this particular route was used. The Witness explained that the roads on this route were in better condition than those on the route in the south, and that, had the roads been better on the other route, they could have used it. The Witness also explained that the northern route was more convenient, as the headquarters for the RUF were located in Kailahun, so the route that they took should lead there rather than to Pujehun, as the southern route did, where the RUF was not prominent. Further, the Witness clarified that there were Kamajors on the southern route and that they were guarding that route as part of their territory.
The Witness then offered that, when Mr. Massaquoi traveled to Liberia, the LURD rebels were not present and so the northern route was clear. He did not know whether the RUF delivered anything to Monrovia, including diamonds, as that type of information was limited to those in high command positions. When asked whether Mr. Massaquoi was the type of commander who would have had diamonds, the Witness explained that Mr. Massaquoi had been in Makeni before going to Liberia, so he did not know how Mr. Massaquoi could have made such a transaction. The Prosecution pressed this point further, referring to Mr. Massaquoi’s prior statements about bringing diamonds to Charles Taylor, and asking the Witness whether Mr. Massaquoi had contact with Charles Taylor or brought him diamonds. The Witness maintained that he did not have knowledge of this matter.
The Prosecution then asked about the type of commanding role Mr. Massaquoi held in the RUF. The Witness explained that Mr. Massaquoi was first a combatant, but then became a commander, including of other combatants, before the disarmament. The Witness explained that the disarmament proceeded in stages across the districts – it started in Lunsar in 1999, and was happening in Kono in 2001. When the Witness first met Mr. Massaquoi in Lunsar in December 1999, he was disarmed.
The Witness is asked further questions
Defense Counsel began his questioning by asking the Witness whether he saw Mr. Massaquoi supplying arms in Monrovia. The Witness stated that he did not see Mr. Massaquoi in that area. According to the Witness, Benjamin Yeaten was the most prominent person for supplying arms.
Defense then asked whether the Witness had heard of FNM-208. The Witness knew who this was, and explained that the first commanders were executed by Foday Sankoh and others because they had collaborated with enemy forces.
The Witness said that the Liberians had their own operational mission and he did not know about it.
The Witness confirmed that Issa Sesay gave the orders to go to Liberia and fight, and that he was a radio operator. He also again corrected the date this happened, clarifying that though he told investigators that he went to Liberia in May 2000, it was in fact May 2001. He explained that it was difficult to remember the dates offhand. Referring again to the Witness’ police statement, the Prosecutor noted that he previously stated that members of the RUF started leaving Liberia to go to Sierra Leone once they heard rumours of disarmament. Then, the Prosecutor noted that the Witness had told police that he spent six or seven months in Foya before returning to Kono to disarm in September 2001, whereas, during this hearing, the Witness stated he was only in Liberia for roughly one month. The Witness confirmed that what he said in this hearing was true – he was only in Liberia for one month. He reiterated that he found it difficult to recall the dates, and only realized his mistake with the dates provided to the police later on.
The hearing concluded at 16:10 and will resume on 14 May 2021 in Freetown, Sierra Leone.