17/05/21 [Sierra Leone] Day 33: The Hearing of Witnesses 68, 69 and 70
The 33rd day of public hearings resumed on 17 May 2021 in Freetown, Sierra Leone.
Witness 68 is Heard
(Finnish Witness ID: Defense Witness 23)
Defense Counsel Questions the Witness
The Witness began by stating she knew Mr. Massaquoi in 1991 when the rebels arrived. She clarified that she first met him while he was working as a teacher, as Mr. Massaquoi impregnated her daughter, FNM-192, who was in high school at the time. The school administration set up a meeting between Mr. Massaquoi, the Witness, and her husband, where they discussed the issue. Since then, Mr. Massaquoi had been visiting her family from Pujehun. The Witness further added that, on one occasion, as Mr. Massaquoi was traveling to visit them, he was attacked by rebels who asked him to join them.
The Witness stated that, in 1993, she was separated from Mr. Massaquoi because of the war, but that she saw him in 1997, and that he was arrested after that. According to the Witness, in 1999, Mr. Massaquoi was in prison in Lunsar. She stated that her daughter wrote her a letter saying that her and Mr. Massaquoi were in Lunsar. After she received the letter, the Witness decided to travel to Lunsar, and upon her arrival, she met with Mr. Massaquoi, as well as with FNM-192, who was pregnant, and the Witness’ son, Witness 2. The Witness stayed in Lunsar for a month, and then returned to Bo. Once she arrived back in Bo, she received a letter from FNM-192 stating that they had moved to Makeni, so she traveled there. She stayed in Makeni for about a month, and then Mr. Massaquoi and FNM-192 dropped her off at Masiaka as they continued on their way to Freetown. The Witness clarified that this was in 1999, and added that Mr. Massaquoi and FNM-192 were going to Freetown to settle in Murray Town.
At that time, the Witness stated, Mr. Massaquoi was not working. The Witness elaborated that she sent them support and supplies, and occasionally purchased clothing for them. She visited them in Freetown in December 1999, when FNM-192 gave birth to their son, FNM-194. She stayed with them for three months because FNM-192 was sick, and she saw Mr. Massaquoi regularly. The Witness explained that Mr. Massaquoi and FNM-192 lived in Murray Town for a year, and then returned to Makeni after Foday Sankoh was arrested. She knew they had returned to Makeni because FNM-192 wrote to her in 2001 explaining as much. According to the Witness, the year she received that letter was the same year Foday Sankoh was arrested – 2001. The Witness then stated that she visited them in Makeni, adding that, at that time, Ibrahim was already walking, and FNM-192 was pregnant again. She stayed with them for two weeks, and then brought FNM-194 to live with her in Bo.
According to the Witness, two days after she arrived in Makeni, Issa Sesay visited Mr. Massaquoi at his house, at around five in the evening, and then the two of them went out. The Witness did not know what happened, but stayed up waiting outside until about ten at night. Issa Sesay’s convoy showed up, and everyone started running. She was told that Mr. Massaquoi had sent for FNM-192, and the Witness expressed concern that Mr. Massaquoi was not there and that FNM-192 would be taken away again. The Witness did not see them return that night, and could not sleep. The following morning, she only saw FNM-192, who was brought back by FNM-195. The Witness explained that FNM-195 was the head of those who came to make peace. She did not know whether he represented any particular organization, and repeated that she just knew that he was there to broker peace between the RUF and civilians. The Witness stated that FNM-192 told her that she was with FNM-195 and Issa Sesay that night, and that FNM-192 saw Issa Sesay give instructions to kill Mr. Massaquoi, after putting him in a corner. FNM-192reported what she saw to FNM-195, who then came to rescue Mr. Massaquoi. Later, FNM-195 brought Mr. Massaquoi back, and the Witness told Mr. Massaquoi and FNM-192 that she was returning to Bo.
After returning to Bo, the Witness heard that, in 2001, Mr. Massaquoi and FNM-192 returned to Freetown but were then residing at Thunder Hill. They visited her in Bo for two weeks, and then took FNM-194 back to Freetown. She went to visit them so she could see FNM-194. In 2002, they told her that FNM-194 had passed away, and she traveled to Freetown the day she received this news. She could not recall what month this occurred, but she met them at the gravesite and asked to see FNM-194’s face. The Witness then showed the Court a photograph taken at the gravesite.
After the funeral, the Witness was with Mr. Massaquoi and FNM-192 in Freetown. When the Witness returned to Bo, Mr. Massaquoi would visit her. Her status as Mr. Massaquoi’s mother-in-law caused some rebels among the Kamajors to beat her in a shop. The rebels beat her because they had been asking Mr. Massaquoi to join them, and he would not. One of the rebels identified her while she was at her shop, and knew she was Mr. Massaquoi’s mother-in-law. Later, they dragged her to their office. The Witness elaborated that the rebels were those that brought the war, and that she did not know what group they belonged to, but reiterated that some were among the Kamajors, and they beat her with their guns. This happened in 2002, after FNM-194 died. After the Kamajors beat her, Mr. Massaquoi visited her again in Bo because the Witness could not travel at the time. The Witness added that Mr. Massaquoi and FNM-192 had given birth to another child, FNM-196, who died when she was four years old, in 2005. The Witness then showed the Court a photograph of FNM-196.
The Witness then stated that, in 2002, Mr. Massaquoi had been working on a fish project along with Witness 2, but was unable to do the project as he was under the protection of the Special Court. The Witness then showed a photograph of Mr. Massaquoi and some others after Titi Hannah’s burial, and noted that, at the time, Mr. Massaquoi was under the custody of the Special Court. The Witness recalled that Mr. Massaquoi was under protection of the Special Court in 2004 until 2005 when Hannah died.
The Witness stated that, between 1999 and 2003, she only contacted Mr. Massaquoi or his family through letters, as there were no phones. Later, she stated, Mr. Massaquoi got a phone when they went to Freetown, and she would speak with him and FNM-192.
FNM-192 and Mr. Massaquoi were married and made their relationship official in 2002, according to the Witness. There was a celebration at Thunder Hill. After the marriage, the Witness stated that there was some confusion caused by Mr. Massaquoi’s mother, FNM-197. The Witness explained that FNM-197 did not approve of the relationship. The Witness stated that FNM-192 and Mr. Massaquoi are still married, but she heard that there was some confusion and they have separated while in Finland.
Defense Counsel then asked the Witness to state her personal opinion of Mr. Massaquoi. The Witness stated that, though he had done some wrong to her family, she wanted him to be a free man, because he had been arrested several times and was unable to enjoy his life as a young man.
Finally, the Witness stated that she recalled her Finnish police interview on 25 March 2021, and that nobody from Finland contacted her about the case prior to that date. She added that Mr. Massaquoi never even called when the Witness’ husband died, and that her husband had been “a defender for his life”.
The Prosecution Questions the Witness
The Prosecution began by asking the Witness whether she was sure that Mr. Massaquoi and FNM-192 were married in 2002. The Witness confirmed that she was sure they got married. The Prosecution then asked whether the Witness recalled what she told the police. The Witness explained that she told the police that Mr. Massaquoi and FNM-192 got engaged, but because Mr. Massaquoi did her wrong, she did not attend the marriage ceremony. Referring to her police statement, the Prosecution noted that the Witness previously stated that FNM-192 and Mr. Massaquoi got engaged but not married. The Witness repeated that they got married, but that she did not attend the marriage, adding that her husband never wanted them to get married and that she was sick at the time. The Witness recalled that they got engaged in 2002, at which point she stopped visiting them as she was unable to travel. The Prosecution then asked the Witness whether she remembered saying that their wedding celebration was at Thunder Hill in 2002, to which the Witness responded that they should ask Mr. Massaquoi or FNM-192 about this, as the Witness only knew what she had already said. The Prosecution suggested that the Witness might be unsure as to whether they got married, to which the Witness responded that they did get married, and were it not so, they would not have traveled as a couple to Finland.
The Prosecution then asked the Witness whether Mr. Massaquoi wanted FNM-192 to go along to Finland. The Witness stated that he wanted to take her, adding that they had a two-month-old child at the time. The Prosecution asked the Witness whether she recalled what she had previously said to the police on this subject, and the Witness explained that Mr. Massaquoi’s mother did not want Mr. Massaquoi to take FNM-192 along, but that the government arranging the travel insisted he do so. Reading the police statement, the Prosecution stated that the Witness said that Mr. Massaquoi did not want to take FNM-192 to Finland, but the white man said he should. The Witness agreed that that was what she just said. She added that Mr. Massaquoi did not want to take FNM-192 because of his mother, who hated FNM-192, so FNM-192 went to the white men and reported the issue. The Witness added that Amie went to visit them in Freetown and threw magic and charms all over the house, which caused confusion between FNM-192 and Mr. Massaquoi.
Turning to the assault against the Witness, the Witness stated that rebels did not beat her, it was the Kamajors who did so in Bo in 2002. She clarified that Mr. Massaquoi was beaten in 1991. She could not remember the month in which the Kamajors beat her, and noted that she did not keep a record. She added that, at that time, Mr. Massaquoi was not yet with the Special Court, as this was in 2002. Mr. Massaquoi’s cooperation with the Special Court started around 2003 or 2004, according to the Witness. She added that, in 2005, when Hannah died, Mr. Massaquoi was with securities. The Witness explained that when he went to Bo for Hannah’s funeral, the security guards from the Special Court went with him. They arrived at night and left after the funeral rites. Though the Witness communicated with Mr. Massaquoi, he did not visit Bo again in 2005. The Witness explained that while he was with the Court, he was not free to move about. The Prosecution asked whether the Witness recalled what she told the police, and the Witness repeated that he did not travel to Bo after the funeral. Reading the Witness’ prior statement, the Prosecution said that the Witness told police that he returned once more for a couple days. The Witness explained that this was in 2002, not 2005, and repeated that, in 2005, he only visited after Hannah died. She stated that the police got it wrong, and that she told them 2002, adding that she was sick at the time and could not travel, so he would visit her.
The Prosecution then asked the Witness about FNM-196. The Witness explained that FNM-196 lived in Freetown with FNM-192 and Mr. Massaquoi until she started walking, when she was roughly two years old, and then FNM-196 came to Bo, where she stayed with the Witness until she died. The Witness confirmed that FNM-196 moved to Bo in 2003, and attended nursery school there. The Witness showed the Court a photograph of FNM-196 in her uniform. After FNM-196 was in Bo, FNM-192 and Mr. Massaquoi had other three grown-up children with them in Freetown. The Witness also showed the Court a photo of these children – FNM-194, FNM-198, and FNM-199. The Witness explained that Mr. Massaquoi took two of the children, FNM-194 and FNM-199, with him to Finland, while the other child, FNM-198, was in Pujehun. She added that they also had their infant, FNM-220, with them. The Witness explained that FNM-199 was a girl child. She added that FNM-199 was FNM-192’s stepdaughter, and Mr. Massaquoi’s daughter by relation. The Witness did not know if FNM-199lived in Monrovia at some point. She explained that she saw her when she visited them, and at that time, FNM-199 was very young. She did not recall what year that was.
The Witness did not know whether Mr. Massaquoi traveled to Liberia, and explained that she would not know about his travels as she saw him whenever she went to visit them. She knew that Mr. Massaquoi participated in the peace process in Sierra Leone, adding that she heard him calling for peace on the radio from Côte D’Ivoire. She thought that was in 1994, and noted that she never heard him again after that.
Counsel Re-Examines the Witness
Defense Counsel asked the Witness to repeat the names of the children in the photograph, and then returned to the topic of the assault of the Witness in 2002. The Defence referred to her police statement, which stated that “among the Kamajors there were former RUF members in there”. The Witness agreed with the statement, adding that these were the ones who beat her. Defense Counsel referred to another prior statement, asking the Witness to confirm that by 2003, Mr. Massaquoi had already been taken to the Special Court. The Witness confirmed that 2003 was the correct year.
The Court proceeded to play some audio segments of the Witness’ interview with the Finnish police. From the audio, the Witness stated that Mr. Massaquoi returned to Freetown after Hannah’s funeral, and then returned to Bo for two days, after which the Witness never heard from him until Mr. Massaquoi and FNM-192 went to Finland.
The Prosecution asked the Witness to confirm whether she heard herself say that Mr. Massaquoi returned to Bo after FNM-196’s burial. The Witness stated that, even had she said that, she didn’t think it was a bad thing because he only came to visit her. She further stated that she would not have known whether Mr. Massaquoi visited Bo a second time in 2005, as after the funeral, he did not visit her, repeating that she only knew of the 2002 visit.
Finally, the Witness asked the Court to free Mr. Massaquoi, noting that she had forgiven him.
Witness 69 is Heard
(Finnish Witness ID: Defense Witness 02)
Defense Counsel Questions the Witness
The Witness began by describing how he knew Mr. Massaquoi. He met him in 1991, when Mr. Massaquoi was his subject teacher. The Defense then advised the Witness that this hearing would focus on events occurring between 1999 and 2003. The Witness then identified his relationship with his mother, Witness 23, and his elder sister, FNM-192.
According to the Witness, in 1999, Mr. Massaquoi was staying in Freetown, but was based in Lunsar. The Witness met him first in Lunsar, and then also met him in Freetown. While in Freetown, Mr. Massaquoi was staying in Thunder Hill, Kissy. The Witness would visit him there during his breaks in college, while he was staying with his father at Savage Street, Wellington, in the east of Freetown. The Witness described the length of the academic year and its breaks, noting that there was a one-month break between first and second semester, and then a two-month break between the end of the school year and a new academic year. The new academic year would start in October. The Witness indicated that he came for the break between first and second semester, which was during December. During that time, he saw Mr. Massaquoi any day of the week except for Sunday, when he would go to church. Whenever he visited, Mr. Massaquoi was at home.
The Witness began college in Bo in 1998, where he was being trained as a teacher. He came to Freetown for the December break in 1999, and then again for the next break in July 2000. Mr. Massaquoi was in Freetown at the start, but during the middle of the year, he went to Azzolini Highway, Makeni and stayed there for two months. The Witness visited him in Makeni, and Mr. Massaquoi was present in Makeni until the Witness left in the first week of October. He explained that he visited Mr. Massaquoi because he was married to the Witness’ older sister, and also because students “love people that help us” – Mr. Massaquoi was helping pay the Witness’ fees and providing him with academic materials. When he visited, he saw Mr. Massaquoi listening to the news, playing ludo, and writing a book. He did not know the title of the book, but it related to the war. The book was on his computer, and sometimes the Witness would read what was there. He recalled reading about how the war started and when Mr. Massaquoi was going to the peace accord. At the time, Mr. Massaquoi rented a private home and lived with the Witness’ sister, FNM-192, as well as their children, FNM-194, FNM-198, FNM-199, FNM-196, and FNM-200. The Witness indicated that both FNM-196 and FNM-194 are now deceased.
The Witness next met Mr. Massaquoi when they were at Dorothy Street, Murray Town. This was in 2000, and the Witness added that Mr. Massaquoi only spent a year there. Defense Counsel asked the Witness to clarify whether he went with Mr. Massaquoi to Makeni and to Murray Town in 2000. The Witness stated that he did, explaining that, when they moved to Masiaka, his mother went to Bo and Mr. Massaquoi went to Freetown, so his mother told him that Mr. Massaquoi was in Freetown. He repeated that he met Mr. Massaquoi in Freetown, adding that Mr. Massaquoi visited his family in Bo in 2002. He then said that he in fact couldn’t recall the year, but knew Mr. Massaquoi had a project at that point. The project related to reintegration after the disarmament, and the Witness also worked on the project as director of training. He was responsible to train ex-combatants so they could become reliable citizens.
The Witness stated that he stayed in Bo after 2000, as he went to Njala University to do his bachelor’s degree. In 2003, the Witness recalled that they were in Freetown and that he met Mr. Massaquoi at his house in the east, around Kissy.
When asked about the Special Court, the Witness stated that he learned of the Court when it “took” Mr. Massaquoi, and that was when the Witness stopped seeing Mr. Massaquoi. The Witness did not try to see Mr. Massaquoi, as there were securities, and they were not allowed to. Thee Witness also indicated that he was afraid to try to see him. He did not remember when Mr. Massaquoi was arrested, but explained that he heard Mr. Massaquoi and some other colleagues, including Mr. Massaquoi’s leader, Issa Sesay, were arrested and that nobody was allowed to see them.
The Witness stated that he last had contact with Mr. Massaquoi in 2005, when they went to Bo after they lost their child. The Witness added that he saw Mr. Massaquoi at the burial, but Mr. Massaquoi did not even spend the night, leaving with the Special Court security. The Witness confirmed that the police interviewed him on 17 October 2020, and that nobody contacted him before the interview, adding that he heard on the BBC that Mr. Massaquoi was arrested.
The Prosecution Questions the Witness
The Prosecution opened by asking the Witness to clarify when and where he met Mr. Massaquoi, asking specifically whether the Witness saw him in 1999. The Witness indicated that he saw Mr. Massaquoi in December 1999, in Lunsar, Port Loko District. The Prosecution asked the Witness whether he recalled his interview with the Finnish police, and whether he stated that he met Mr. Massaquoi in 1999. The Witness indicated that he remembered his interview, but not whether he told them about 1999. The Prosecution noted that the police did not record that the Witness met Mr. Massaquoi in 1999, and the Witness suggested that this was a mistake on the police’s part. The Witness acknowledged that he had remembered the 1999 meeting at the time of the interview, but that he did not tell the police, as that was the first time he was doing such an interview and he was afraid. The Prosecution then asked the Witness whether someone reminded him of the Lunsar meeting, which the Witness denied.
Moving on to the year 2000, the Witness stated that he met Mr. Massaquoi in Freetown, in the end of July. He elaborated that he saw Mr. Massaquoi in Freetown in July, August, and September during his school break. The Witness indicated that he told the police this, adding that the holiday continued until October and he was staying with his father. The Prosecution noted that the police did not have this in their summary, and the Witness stated that he had mentioned it.
With regard to 2001, the Witness met Mr. Massaquoi in Freetown. He stated that he told the police that he met Mr. Massaquoi in Freetown. The Witness further stated that he told the police that was the first time he met Mr. Massaquoi in 2001, but they also met in Makeni. Reading from the police summary, the Prosecution then asked the Witness to confirm the following prior statement: “the next time I met Gibirl Massaquoi was in 2001 at Lunsar, to assist him and was there from July-September”. The Witness stated that he said this, and that it was true. The Prosecution noted that, just before reading this statement, the Witness said that he met Mr. Massaquoi in Freetown. The Witness explained that Mr. Massaquoi came for a meeting, so the Witness greeted him, they discussed the Witness’ education, Mr. Massaquoi gave the Witness some money, and then the Witness left him.
The Prosecution then asked the Witness to confirm that he met Mr. Massaquoi in July and August 2001, which the Witness did, adding that he resided with Mr. Massaquoi. When asked whether Mr. Massaquoi told the Witness that he had just returned from a trip overseas, the Witness explained that customary traditions limit communications with your elder or their spouse. With regard to Mr. Massaquoi’s project, the Witness stated that he was responsible for it, but that it stopped due to the Special Court. Turning back to the July 2001 visit, the Witness stated that Mr. Massaquoi had a vehicle with him, though he did not know whether Mr. Massaquoi owned the vehicle, and Mr. Massaquoi never told him.
In 2002, the Witness stated that he met Mr. Massaquoi in Freetown, which is where the Witness was residing at the time. The Witness could not remember the first time they met in 2002 but stated that he frequently visited Mr. Massaquoi in Freetown. When asked whether he stayed with Mr. Massaquoi in 2002, the Witness stated that, had he ever said that to the police, it was a slip of the tongue, explaining that he was telling the police what he knew of when Mr. Massaquoi was in Freetown. The Witness agreed that the police might have recorded his statement incorrectly.
In 2003, the Witness stated that he met Mr. Massaquoi in Freetown before the Special Court took Mr. Massaquoi. He elaborated that he saw Mr. Massaquoi at the beginning of 2003, and then heard that he was arrested along with Issa Sesay and others. Later, the Witness understood that Mr. Massaquoi was being kept in custody as a witness. He did not see Mr. Massaquoi again that year after the Special Court took him, repeating that he saw him in 2005 for the funeral. The Witness again stated that he did not try to see Mr. Massaquoi after the Special Court took him, as only people from the Special Court was allowed to see him. The Witness added that he heard of Mr. Massaquoi’s arrest from Mr. Massaquoi’s family. The Prosecution noted that other witnesses had said that they met Mr. Massaquoi after the Special Court order, to which the Witness stated that he did not meet Mr. Massaquoi, and did not know whether others had.
The Prosecution then asked whether the Witness knew anything about Mr. Massaquoi’s travel outside the country between 1999 and 2003. The Witness indicated that he knew when Mr. Massaquoi went for peace treaties, but he did not recall the time period in which this occurred, as there were several peace treaties. The Witness recalled that Mr. Massaquoi traveled to Togo for the Lomé Peace Accord, to Nigeria for the Abuja Peace Accord, and to Côte d’Ivoire for the Abidjan Peace Accord. The Witness explained that Mr. Massaquoi attended each of these meetings “he was the spokesman and one of the top-ranking figures”. When asked whether he recalled what he told the police about these treaties, the Witness stated that he recalled the police asking whether the Witness knew if Mr. Massaquoi traveled out of the country, and that he responded that he did not know as he was simply a brother-in-law and a visitor.
The Prosecution then asked why the Witness told the police that he did not know, but knew this today at trial, to which the Witness responded that the police simply asked, “did he ever travel out of the country”.
The Witness is asked further questions
Defense Counsel asked the Witness to elaborate on whether he met Mr. Massaquoi in Freetown in December, 1999. The Witness stated that he met Mr. Massaquoi in Freetown, and explained that, in Sierra Leone, the school session is divided, so when they broke for the school recess, the Witness went to Mr. Massaquoi. Defense Counsel asked whether the Witness visited Mr. Massaquoi in Freetown, Lunsar, or Bo during that break in December. The Witness stated that he first met Mr. Massaquoi in Lunsar, adding that this was in 2000, when the academic year continued in Freetown. In 1999, the Witness stated that he resided in Freetown with Mr. Massaquoi, and in 2000, he was there with his father. Defense Counsel asked the Witness to state whether, in December 1999, he met Mr. Massaquoi in Freetown or Lunsar. The Witness stated that it was in Lunsar, and that he understood the question more clearly now.
Defense Counsel then asked the Witness to clarify whether he ever tried to meet Mr. Massaquoi in the safe house at the Special Court. Reading from the police summary, Defense Counsel asked the Witness to explain the following prior statement: “I went to visit him, and they were living in the safe house, but he was not there”. The Witness denied ever having said this, stating that he was told by Mr. Massaquoi’s family members that nobody was allowed to see him. The Witness further stated that he was a very small boy at the time and never took the risk to go there. The Defense then played a recording from the Witness’ interview with the police.
Prosecution then asked the Witness to provide additional detail regarding the roads that lead to Makeni, and specifically asked how far apart Makeni and Lunsar were, noting that he understood that they were close. The Witness explained the two different routes to Makeni, and stated that he did not know the mileage between Makeni and Lunsar, noting that he was very small when he went there, and has not been back since.
Witness 70 is Heard
(Finnish Witness ID: Soldier 43)
Defense Counsel Questions Soldier 43
Soldier 43 began by stating that that he knew Massaquoi from the war. He explained that, when the war broke out in Pujehun in 1991, they were all captured at the same time by the Revolutionary Vanguards, led by Foday Sankoh. He added that there were three different groups, and the Witness was with special forces trained in Libya. The Witness added that Foday Sankoh, FNM-221, Mike Lamin, FNM-222, and FNM-223 were there. The Witness stated that Sankoh told them that there were 300 revolutionary vanguards – 150 crossed by Pujehun and 150 by Kailahun, but they were escorted by Charles Taylor and the Liberians. When the Revolutionary Vanguards arrived, they captured them and trained them at Gissiwulo, a few miles from Zimmi. According to the Witness, they were trained as the “Peoples’ Vanguard” because they were in the country and people were there. The Witness then clarified that his leader was Foday Sankoh and that the name of his group was “Revolutionary Vanguards”.
Defense Counsel noted that the hearing would focus on events occurring between 1999 and 2003. The Witness stated that, in 1999, Mr. Massaquoi was in the north, and not with the Witness and his group. He explained that Mr. Massaquoi was in Kangarie Hills around Makeni and Kono, with his commander, Superman. The Witness explained that this was because Mr. Massaquoi was having many problems, and was frequently arrested by Mosquito, Issa, and Morris Kallon, other vanguards.
The Witness stated that the cause of Mr. Massaquoi’s problems stemmed from when he was a commander in 1994. According to the Witness, people said that Mr. Massaquoi was inciting soldiers through his words. The Witness elaborated that the Revolutionary Vanguards that arrived with Foday Sankoh were not promoted, especially the Liberians, and that many of them were not educated. Mr. Massaquoi’s problems began there, according to the Witness, because he was a schoolteacher. When the leader realised that this was the issue with the Vanguards, he sent them to the north with Superman. The Witness noted that, in 1999, when they joined with the AFRC, Mr. Massaquoi had another problem with the government, as he was arrested by the court martial. Though he was freed by the court martial, Mr. Massaquoi was still in detention until forces entered Freetown and released him from the correctional centre.
The Witness then explained that, when Mr. Massaquoi returned to the jungle, the problem continued, adding that Foday Sankoh was not there with them because he was traveling. According to the Witness, Mosquito and other commanders were requesting that Mr. Massaquoi go to their headquarters in Buedu because Massaquoi was with Sankoh when they went to Nigeria, and they wanted him to explain where he left their leader in Nigeria. The Witness explained that this was a plot to get rid of Mr. Massaquoi, but Superman would not allow this to happen. From there, infighting began. Prior to the infighting, the Witness added, they sent troops to Mr. Massaquoi when Superman was not around, and the troops put Mr. Massaquoi in their truck. The Witness did not know where in Nigeria Mr. Massaquoi had gone with Foday Sankoh, explaining that he was in the jungle.
Turning to Mr. Massaquoi’s relationship with Issa Sesay, the Witness indicated that there was conflict between the two of them from the beginning. According to the Witness, Issa Sesay accused Mr. Massaquoi of various things, including treason. The Witness added that he was also subject to accusations due to his proximity to Mr. Massaquoi. The Witness further elaborated that he was in Tongo at the time, serving as the head of the Task Force Brigadier. Mr. Massaquoi sent some of his men to the Witness to do some mining, and later, Mr. Massaquoi joined them in Tongo. The Witness stated that Mr. Massaquoi specifically went there to speak with the Witness and his men. Issa Sesay refused to allow Mr. Massaquoi to take this trip, so Massaquoi traveled on a UN helicopter to meet them. When Mr. Massaquoi arrived, he went directly to the Witness’ house in the Tongola area, and called a meeting for those that were around, telling them that “this war was about to end”, and that they “should not allow Issa Sesay and Mosquito to use you” for the diamond mining. The Witness explained that Issa Sesay and Mosquito were telling them that they would have to form a political party and make money. The Defense asked the Witness to confirm his prior statement that the reason Mr. Massaquoi was unable to travel the Makeni route to Tongo unless he was in the UN helicopter due to his conflict with Issa Sesay. The Witness noted that if Mr. Massaquoi had gone by road, “he would have slept”. The Witness added that Massaquoi said, “you guys are mining diamonds and giving them to Issa; maybe you guys don’t have families”.
Defense Counsel asked whether Issa Sesay knew that Mr. Massaquoi was going to Tongo, and the Witness replied that he did, explaining that they had informants. As for Issa Sesay’s reaction, the Witness indicated that it created a “serious problem” for Massaquoi as well as the Witness: the Witness and a couple of other senior individuals who were around for the meeting with Massaquoi were accused of treason. Once the treason charges were made, the Witness stated that Mr. Massaquoi ran away to Freetown, while the Witness and three other men were arrested. The Witness recalled that this happened on 24 October 2000.
Turning to Mosquito, the Witness stated that he knew his real name: Sam Bockarie. The Witness described him as a battle commander in Sierra Leone who was in charge of all battles. According to the Witness, Bockarie traveled from Sierra Leone to Liberia when he challenged the leadership of the RUF. Following this challenge, the leader asked the Witness and his men to arrest Bockarie, and so Bockarie fled. The Witness stated that Mr. Massaquoi did not go with Bockarie.
The Witness stated that Mr. Massaquoi’s nickname was “God Son” because of the troubles that met him. He knew someone named Angel Gabriel, who was a junior fighter with the RUF in a town called Rutile. This Angel Gabriel was a sergeant in one of the special forces with FNM-223 and Superman. The Witness thought he might have had another rank, but noted that he was not with this Angel Gabriel, adding that this Angel Gabriel died. He further noted that Angel Gabriel was with Foday Sankoh when they started the war. When asked whether Angel Gabriel went to Liberia, the Witness answered, “of course, most of us, when they pushed us, went to Liberia”. The Witness had not seen Angel Gabriel since 1994, 1995, and 1996. Defense Counsel asked whether the Witness knew if Angel Gabriel went to Liberia between 1999 and 2003. The Witness explained that, during that time, he and his men were in the East while they were in the north. When LURD forces attacked Charles Taylor’s forces, the Witness stated that his troops went to join them because “our daddy [Foday Sankoh] had good relationships; yes, we were sending troops there”. The Witness clarified that the last time he met Angel Gabriel was around 1994 or 1995.
The Witness confirmed that he was interviewed by Finnish police on 26 October, and that, prior to his interview, nobody from Finland contacted him.
The Prosecution Questions Soldier 43
The Prosecution opened by asking whether the Witness knew where the diamonds that were mined in Tongo were being delivered to. The Witness stated that Issa Sesay and Mosquito developed close contact with Charles Taylor, and they used to send diamonds to him. When asked whether he knew if they received anything in return from Charles Taylor, the Witness stated that only the senior people knew, and all that he was told by Sesay and Mosquito was for safekeeping because their leader was not around.
The Prosecution asked the Witness whether the argument between Mr. Massaquoi and Issa Sesay was because Massaquoi said Issa and Mosquito were using the Witness. The Witness responded that that was the main argument, but that there were other serious ones. Referring to the statement of another witness, the Prosecution asked whether there was an issue between Mr. Massaquoi and Issa Sesay because Massaquoi stole some gold jewellery, to which the Witness said no. The Witness said, “they did not trust him even in his junior time.”
Turning to Angel Gabriel, the Prosecution asked whether the Witness knew when he died. The Witness noted there were too many people, and he couldn’t remember when Angel Gabriel died.
The Witness admitted that he had been in Liberia during the war, in 1996 as a “military refugee”. When asked whether he knew if Mr. Massaquoi had gone to Liberia, the Witness stated that Massaquoi was not with them, but was rather in the northern jungle, adding that Massaquoi’s former wife was with him.
However, he stated that by around 1997 or 1998, Mr. Massaquoi was sent by Mosquito to Liberia, and most times went with Mike Lamin and Issa Sesay on instructions.
With respect to the diamonds, the Witness stated that they were delivered to Charles Taylor because he was Foday Sankoh’s best friend, and at that time, Sankoh was not with them and they did not know his whereabouts.
The Witness is asked Further Questions
Defense Counsel recalled that the Witness stated that Mr. Massaquoi traveled from Makeni to Tongo, and then referred to the Witness’ police statement, which indicated that, following the problem in 2000, the Witness went to Makeni and Mr. Massaquoi went to Freetown. The Witness agreed with the statement and explained that the problem was that Issa Sesay had ordered their arrest. He added that the UN had intervened, and the Witness, amongst others, stopped the arrest. Defense Counsel asked the Witness to clarify his statement further, and the Witness explained that Mr. Massaquoi went from Freetown to Makeni but their arrest was ordered, so he ran back to Freetown on the same day.
Defense Counsel, again referring to the Witness’ prior statement to police, noted that the Witness was asked whether Angel Gabriel went to Liberia, to which the Witness had stated that he thought Angel Gabriel went to Liberia because he was in a village close to Liberia. The Witness agreed with the statement. Defense Counsel then asked the Witness to confirm his prior statement that he last met Angel Gabriel during the disarmament. The Witness explained that he was confused because “people took this nickname and I knew of one”. He was with this individual’s sister, and they met just after the disarmament. He added that this individual was called Gabriel, and because Gabriel was an angel, people simply added ‘angel’ to his name. The Witness clarified that this disarmament Angel Gabriel was different from the Angel Gabriel in Rutile. The disarmament Angel Gabriel was a RUF fighter between 1999 and 2003, in the same battalion as the Witness. They met in Tongo in 2000, and the Witness clarified that there were two battalions: one in Pujehun and one in Kailahun. The Witness confirmed that the Rutile Angel Gabriel died around 1995 or 1996. As for the disarmament Angel Gabriel, the Witness stated that they were forced to fight in Liberia in 1991 for three days, and in 1992 for three months. In 1999-2003, disarmament Angel Gabriel did not fight in Liberia, as, according to the Witness, “during that time we had no business with Liberia”.
Defense Counsel recalled that the Witness had previously said that when the LURD rebels attacked Liberia, the Witness and his team sent men to Liberia. The Witness confirmed this, explaining that they shared borders and the attack impacted them due to its proximity to the roads. The Witness did not know whether Angel Gabriel fought against LURD in Liberia.
The hearings closed for the day and the trial was set to resume on 18 May 2021 in Freetown, Sierra Leone.