17/06/21 [Finland] Day 40: Two New Witnesses Are Heard

The 40th day of public hearings resumed on 17 June 2021 at Tampere District Court, Finland.

Witness FNM-178 is Heard 

Judge Paiho opened the hearing by noting that this Witness had the right to decline to testify pursuant to section 17, Chapter 17 of the Finnish Code of Judicial Procedure, based on the Witness’ close relationship to Mr. Massaquoi. The Witness indicated that he would not exercise this right, and that he would testify.

Defense Counsel Questions the Witness

The Witness stated that he knew Mr. Massaquoi from Sierra Leone. He explained that Mr. Massaquoi was in prison from 1998 to 1999, and that the Witness himself was in prison from May 2000 to August 2001. At the time of his release from prison, the Witness lived at his uncle’s house in Freetown, and heard from other family members that Mr. Massaquoi lived in Makeni. Following the Witness’ release, he believed that he first met with Mr. Massaquoi in early 2002, though he was not entirely sure of the date, explaining that they were together before the election in May 2002. The Witness clarified that they first met in Freetown, and that Mr. Massaquoi moved from Makeni to Freetown with his family, as Mr. Massaquoi had some problems with people in Makeni. He added that Mr. Massaquoi was living at Thunder Hill 44 in Freetown, and that Mr. Massaquoi had already moved to Freetown in 2002 before the election in May. The Witness further clarified that he lived at the same address as Mr. Massaquoi, and that Mr. Massaquoi had moved to that address before the Witness arrived. In addition to Mr. Massaquoi and the Witness, FNM-192,  Witness 1, Witness 10, FNM-213, FNM-194, the children, and FNM-231 lived there. The Witness indicated that one of the individuals in the audience of the courtroom lived at the address as well. The Witness was not sure how long he lived at Thunder Hill, but estimated that he moved there in 2002 and left in 2003 during the same month that Issa Sesay was prosecuted. When they left Thunder Hill, they moved close to Wilkinson Road, and stayed for a year. 

The Witness noted that there were different people living at Wilkinson Road, including Mr. Massaquoi, FNM-194, FNM-231, FNM-198, and FNM-192, as well as the Witness himself. Mr. Massaquoi then moved from Wilkinson Road to a residence a short distance away, close to the Special Court and the Brooksfield Hotel. They lived there for less than a year, and then, in early 2005, moved to Kingtom. The Witness clarified that, in 2003, both he and Mr. Massaquoi lived at Thunder Hill and at Wilkinson Road, and that the Special Court arranged these homes.

The Witness explained that there were always safety people and police at the housing arranged by the Special Court: “nobody could leave without telling”. The Witness recalled that he moved into a residence with this type of security arrangement in 2003. Again, he did not remember the month, but stated that it was the same month that Issa Sesay was prosecuted. The Witness did not know why these arrangements were in place, but that they existed to protect them. He noted that he saw white people coming to speak to Mr. Massaquoi, and stated that Mr. Massaquoi could not leave the residence but “if he needed anything, he always sent me”. He added that, if Mr. Massaquoi did leave the house, it was always with security people. The Witness recalled that he and Mr. Massaquoi travelled to Bo, Sierra Leone to attend a funeral, but stated that, in 2003, he, Mr. Massaquoi, and the security personnel did not travel anywhere else. The Witness further indicated that Mr. Massaquoi was never absent from the house in 2003, and especially not for a period of more than four days. He then explained that later, in 2007 or 2008, Mr. Massaquoi was at times away from the safe house for a day or two. The Witness affirmed that he lived at the safe house the whole time after moving in 2003.

Turning to the time before they moved into the safe house, the Witness described Mr. Massaquoi’s role in the elections. The Witness noted that everyone was siding with political groups, and that Mr. Massaquoi went to campaign in Segbwema, though the Witness did not accompany him. During the campaign, the longest Mr. Massaquoi was away from Freetown was a period of two to three days. The Witness stated that Mr. Massaquoi did not travel to Liberia at the time they were in contact and living together in Freetown.

The Prosecution Questions the Witness

The Prosecution began by asking the Witness to explain why he had been in prison. The Witness stated that, after the 2002 demonstrations in Freetown, they were looking for anyone close to the RUF and knew of the Witness’ relationship with Mr. Massaquoi. The Witness explained that he was at school and was not in Freetown, but that the country was in an emergency so many people were captured, and that was how he was imprisoned. The Witness clarified that people believed that he was a member of the RUF, but denied ever being a member. 

The Witness confirmed that he met Mr. Massaquoi at the beginning of 2002, and that they moved in together at this time. He added that Mr. Massaquoi moved into the home before the Witness did, and that the Witness lived alone before this. They lived together until they all left for Finland on 12 August 2008.

The Witness again stated that Mr. Massaquoi never went to Liberia during the time that they lived together. When asked how he was sure of that, the Witness stated, “how can I not be? I did not see him going anywhere. I always knew where he was”. The Prosecution asked the Witness whether he spent all his days with Mr. Massaquoi from the beginning of 2002 up to the point that they moved to Finland, and the Witness said that was the case. The Witness restated that Mr. Massaquoi went campaigning in Segbwema, in eastern Sierra Leone, and that he did not accompany Mr. Massaquoi on those travels. The Witness then clarified that he did not spend every single day with Mr. Massaquoi, acknowledging that, for those two-to-three-day periods, he was not with Mr. Massaquoi. 

The Witness stated that he did not know whether Mr. Massaquoi had family outside of Sierra Leone, but acknowledged that he heard Mr. Massaquoi had a daughter living in Liberia. He explained that, by the time the Witness met that daughter, FNM-231, Mr. Massaquoi was already in Freetown, and that the Witness did not know where she came from. He added that he first met FNM-231 in 2002 or 2003, and repeated that he had no idea how she came to Freetown. The Witness acknowledged that Mr. Massaquoi had a girlfriend, Witness 13, in Monrovia, and that he heard about this when he was released from prison. The Witness did not know how Mr. Massaquoi and Witness 13 were in contact, nor when their relationship started, because he was in prison. He did not remember when or where their child was born, but knew its name was FNM-232.

With respect to the safe houses arranged by the Special Court, the Witness did not know why these houses were arranged but opined that it must have been to keep Mr. Massaquoi’s family together. The Prosecution asked whether Mr. Massaquoi’s mother was included in his immediate family, and Witness acknowledged that she was, though she lived in the provinces. According to the Witness, Mr. Massaquoi did not leave the safe house very often: only “if the Special Court needed him”. The Witness did not know exactly what Mr. Massaquoi did when he left the house, just that “it had something to do with the Special Court”. The Witness stated that nobody other than the family lived in the safe houses, to which the Prosecution noted that other witnesses had stated otherwise. The Witness explained that perhaps security lived there, and that they had visitors, but nobody spent the night. The Prosecution noted two names that had been provided by other witnesses, FNM-224 and FNM-187, to which the Witness responded that he had never heard such names, suggesting that the Prosecution could ask the Special Court for more information.

Turning to the Witness’ membership in the RUF, the Witness again stated that he was never a member and further indicated that he never used a code name. The Prosecution asked specifically whether the Witness used the code name “FNM-235”, which the Witness denied. The Prosecution then noted that, during the preliminary investigations, Mr. Massaquoi stated that the Witness was a member of the RUF. The Witness again denied this, explaining that, to become a member, he would have had to receive training, which he had not. He argued that whatever he had done, he had done it for Mr. Massaquoi. He repeated that he had nothing to do with the RUF, and did not know why Mr. Massaquoi said otherwise. The Witness then suggested that the term ‘membership’ should be defined, as supporting them once in an election would result in a large amount of RUF members. The Prosecution stated that, during the same interviews, Mr. Massaquoi told them that the Witness did use the name “FNM-235”. The Witness explained that everyone had several names, and that his associates called him different names, like FNM-240. He then admitted that, sometimes, people called him “FNM-235”. 

The Prosecution then asked whether Mr. Massaquoi had any code names, and the Witness stated that he did not know. When asked whether he had heard the names Angel or Gabriel, the Witness stated that he had, as they were both names. He had not, however, heard these names being used to refer to a particular person.

The Witness stated that knew Witness 1, a family friend, and Witness 12, a family member. The Prosecution noted that both men had told this Court that the Witness was a member of the RUF. The Witness stated that that was their opinion, and added that he did not come to talk about himself. The Prosecution asked the Witness why Witness 12 did not live at the safe house, and the Witness explained that he lived in the province with his wife and children.

Counsel asks the Witness further questions

Defense Counsel asked the Witness whether he knew a person named Witness 6, and the Witness stated he did. The Witness noted that Witness 6 may have visited the safe house, but did not live there.

Defense Counsel then asked the Witness to clarify some aspects of the demonstrations he mentioned earlier in his testimony. The Witness stated that the demonstrations took place in May 2002 and affirmed that the demonstrations were the reason why he was captured, though he was not present at them. The Witness added that he went to school in Port Loko and that people were arrested all around the country.

Witness FNM-192 is Heard

Judge Paiho opened the hearing of this Witness by noting that she was Mr. Massaquoi’s former spouse, and thus could exercise her right to refuse to testify. The Witness declined to exercise this right.

Defense Counsel Questions the Witness

The Witness began by stating that she met Mr. Massaquoi in 1990 while playing volleyball. They subsequently began a romantic relationship and were married in 2002. 

With respect to her knowledge of the time Mr. Massaquoi spent in prison, the Witness noted that during the war, Mr. Massaquoi refused to join some forces, so he was arrested, beaten, and put in a pit. She heard from her father’s friend that Mr. Massaquoi had been arrested. Mr. Massaquoi was then arrested again a few weeks later. The Witness added that in 1997 and 1998, Mr. Massaquoi was arrested and was with the AFRC until 1999 or so. When Freetown was bombarded on 6 January 1999, he was released along with all the prisoners. The Witness then met Mr. Massaquoi in Lunsar in either January or February following his release, as all the prisoners that had been released were on their way north. The Witness then lived with Mr. Massaquoi in Lunsar until December 1999, when they moved to Freetown. At one point, while living in Lunsar, the town was attacked, and the Witness fled to the woods temporarily. The Witness stated they moved to Freetown because it was safer, Foday Sankoh was there, and the peace process was happening. The Witness added that Mr. Massaquoi traveled to Togo to be part of the peace process in 1999, while they lived in Lunsar and she was pregnant with her second child. Once they moved to Freetown, Mr. Massaquoi worked with Foday Sankoh as a spokesperson. They lived in Murray Town, Freetown, from December 1999 until Foday Sankoh was attacked. The Witness did not recall specifically when that happened, just that it was 2000 and that her son had not yet had his first birthday. 

Between 1999 and 2000, the Witness only recalled Mr. Massaquoi traveling to Togo in 1999. In 2000 or 2001, she stated that Mr. Massaquoi went to Liberia to meet his daughter and ensure she was going to school. On a separate occasion around 2001, Issa Sesay asked him to travel, but Mr. Massaquoi could not make it to Liberia because, according to the Witness, Superman was ambushed and killed, so he returned after a day or two. When Mr. Massaquoi went to Liberia to see his daughter, he would go for a maximum of two weeks. The Witness clarified that this was at the end of 2000 or the beginning of 2001. She stated that while Mr. Massaquoi was away, she spoke with him once using a radio. She added that he was in Monrovia at that time, though she did not know Liberia well so could not say exactly where. Further, she stated that when Mr. Massaquoi returned, he showed her photographs of his daughter wearing a school uniform, and told her that the daughter had a birthday party during this trip.

The Witness could not remember whether Mr. Massaquoi was traveling domestically while they were living in Freetown. She remembered that Foday Sankoh told Mr. Massaquoi to travel for something related to the peace process or some documents, and that Mr. Massaquoi traveled with Sankoh and other RUF members. The Witness denied that there was anything dramatic about their move to Freetown, describing it as peaceful.

The Witness clarified that in 2000, they lived in Murray Town. Mr. Massaquoi was attacked in 2001, and during a second attack, the Witness was also in Freetown. She added that she lived with Mr. Massaquoi’s cousin. Then, in 2002, the Witness stated that they rented a place near the Special Court, and they lived with the Special Court.

The Witness stated that Mr. Massaquoi never went to Liberia in 2002. According to the Witness, Mr. Massaquoi sent his friend, who was maybe named Witness 21, to Liberia to bring his daughter to Sierra Leone. She added that Mr. Massaquoi was always at the house, and if he went out, it would be at nine in the evening, and he would return in the morning. Mr. Massaquoi “never travelled anywhere”, the Witness stated. The Witness was not sure why Mr. Massaquoi did not go himself to collect his daughter. She thought he might be afraid, because he was attacked by Issa, and had been attacked in Lunsar in 1991. She clarified that this was in early 2001, and suggested that he wanted to protect himself.

The Witness believed that they moved into the safe house in 2003, and stated that they moved out in 2008. She clarified that the Special Court moved them in there, and added that Mr. Massaquoi, the Witness, FNM-178, FNM-194, FNM-198, and FNM-199 all lived there. If any of them wanted to get out, it was always with security, and they did not leave often. Mr. Massaquoi never left the house alone, “he always went with the security car”. According to the Witness, the only night they spent away from the house was when their daughter died in 2005, and they traveled to Bo with the security.

The Witness denied that there were any changes in the levels of security while they stayed in the safe house. She added that she traveled to Bo to see her ailing mother in 2005. While she was traveling, Mr. Massaquoi called her to tell her that some men attacked them, so they had to move to another safe house. When she went to Bo on this trip, security fetched her, but she had to return after four days by bus. She added that they noticed some people following their children when they went to school, which caused them to change their family names. She repeated that there were no lighter restrictions over time.

Defense Counsel turned to the topic of Witness 2. The Witness stated that he was her younger brother, and he used to visit them. They first met in Makeni, and then met in Freetown. She could not estimate how often they met, but explained that he always came to visit during midterms, and would stay anywhere from a night to a few days or a week.

With respect to any nicknames Mr. Massaquoi had, the Witness stated that he was called “Sexy Guy” before the war by his colleagues. She did not know of any other name, and did not know whether he had any war name as a member of the RUF. She had only heard the names Angel or Angel Gabriel in the Bible, and never heard anyone call Mr. Massaquoi these names.

When asked whether Mr. Massaquoi used radio to connect to media or other people, the Witness stated that he did this as the spokesperson. She recalled that he once spoke about giving interviews, but she did not know what they were about. When she was in Bo, Mr. Massaquoi spoke of all the RUF people coming for peace, and added that he also spoke of peace while they were in Makeni, but she did not know any more about his interviews.

The Prosecution Questions the Witness

The Prosecution opened by asking the Witness to repeat a couple of details. The Witness responded to these questions, clarifying that in 2000, she lived in Murray Town, Freetown, until Foday Sankoh was attacked that same year. Mr. Massaquoi’s daughter was named FNM-199, and the Witness did not know when exactly she was born, but guessed that it was in 1994. 

Regarding Mr. Massaquoi’s travel to Liberia, the Witness stated that the trip he took to visit his daughter was two or three weeks long, but less than a month. After this trip, Issa Sesay threatened Mr. Massaquoi, but the Witness did not recall Mr. Massaquoi going to Liberia on other occasions. The Witness added that in 2000, after moving to Makeni, Foday Sankoh was attacked during their one trip, and that there were no other trips. The Prosecution noted that Mr. Massaquoi said himself that he traveled several times between June and December 2000, to which the Witness replied that she was stating what she remembered. She recalled that Mr. Massaquoi came back with a car, adding that it functioned as a taxi for them and that this was in 2002. The Prosecution noted that Mr. Massaquoi stated that he fetched this car from Monrovia in June 2001, suggesting that it was the same car she was describing, which the Witness agreed to. She recalled that Mr. Massaquoi brought the car himself, but could not remember when, adding that another car that Mr. Massaquoi brought was left behind in Makeni. The Prosecution asked her to clarify whether Mr. Massaquoi brought the car while they were still living in Makeni, and the Witness agreed that was true. She added that this was in late 2000, when Foday Sankoh was attacked and when Mr. Massaquoi traveled to his daughter.

Between 2000 and 2002, the Witness stated that they were living in Makeni, and that she and Mr. Massaquoi were on good terms without any serious issues. They did not speak much about his travels or what he was doing, aside from Mr. Massaquoi telling her where he had gone.

Referring to her earlier testimony, the Prosecution asked the Witness to clarify which year Mr. Massaquoi was at the house the whole time. The Witness stated that this was in 2002. She repeated that he was always present, sometimes leaving around nine at night but returning in the early morning. She agreed that he was not at home at this point, but added that Mr. Massaquoi would tell her where he had gone.

The Witness stated that she did not know whether Mr. Massaquoi ever travelled to The Gambia. Referring to the Witness’ statement during the preliminary investigation, the Prosecution noted that the Witness indicated that he took a three-day trip to The Gambia, where he had friends. The Witness denied having said this, stating that she never mentioned The Gambia, and was speaking about Togo in 1999. The Prosecution asked the Witness whether Mr. Massaquoi had friends in The Gambia, to which the Witness stated he did not. 

The Witness repeated that she, Mr. Massaquoi, FNM-178, FNM-194, FNM-19, and FNM-199 all lived at the safe house. She explained that FNM-178 was living at the safe house for Mr. Massaquoi, as he was head of the family and everyone in Africa respects that hierarchy.

With respect to Superman’s death, the Witness stated that she had only been told by Superman’s bodyguards that he was attacked and killed. She clarified that that she overheard them talking about this, and that Mr. Massaquoi was not present at that time, as he was traveling. She did not know whether Mr. Massaquoi was in Sierra Leone or Liberia when he received this information, but explained that this was the trip where they tried to get to Liberia without succeeding. The Witness then stated that she was in Makeni at this time, and repeated that Mr. Massaquoi did not tell her they never made it to Liberia, but that “the boys” did, as they were not on good terms at that time.

Regarding the safe house, the Witness stated that, to her knowledge, neither she nor Mr. Massaquoi had frequent visitors. Mr. Massaquoi sometimes went with the security guards to meet people, and sometimes they went for beverages or shopping. The Prosecution noted that other witnesses stated that they met Mr. Massaquoi in town outside the safe house, which the Witness denied knowledge of. She did not remember Mr. Massaquoi traveling to Nigeria, adding that Mr. Massaquoi traveled once when they were in Freetown, but she did not know where.

The Witness is asked further questions

Defense Counsel asked the Witness to clarify what she said to the Prosecution about the boys meeting her at the safe house. The Witness stated that this was in Makeni. Defense Counsel referred to her a summary of what she said, where Prosecution asked whether Mr. Massaquoi had any other trips in 2000 and 2001, where the Witness indicated that, in 2000, Mr. Massaquoi may have taken another trip to Liberia. The Witness clarified that this was in 2001, when they tried to get to Liberia but could not make it due to the attack. The Defense recalled that the Witness then stated that, around this time, she heard that Superman died and that she and Mr. Massaquoi were not on good terms. The Witness stated that this happened in 2001, and the boys told her all that.

Defense Counsel then asked whether she remembered Mr. Massaquoi being evacuated from Freetown to Makeni by the UN. The Witness stated that she did. She recalled that Mr. Massaquoi participated in negotiations in Makeni with the UN, adding that she was in Freetown then.

Prosecution then asked the Witness whether she knew when Mr. Massaquoi met his girlfriend in Liberia, and how they kept in contact. The Witness indicated that she did not want to talk about this and did not want to know about it. The Prosecution asked whether it was possible that Mr. Massaquoi went to Liberia to visit his girlfriend, and the Witness responded, “Maybe. Something like that I have heard, to be honest”. 

The hearings closed for the day and the trial was set to resume on 18 June 2021 in Tampere, Finland.

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