The 45th day of public hearings resumed on 17 September 2021 in Monrovia, Liberia.
Witness Y1 is heard
The Prosecution Questions the Witness
The Witness began by explaining how he came to live in Liberia. The Witness was born in Sierra Leone where he attended school. He was very young when he was captured by the rebels, and he was then under Gibril Massaquoi. In 2000, he crossed into Liberia due to the fighting, and they fought until they reached Monrovia, from 2000 to 2003. The Witness recalled that they fought until 2004, and explained that they were fighting in Waterside “until everything finished”. He added that his commanding general was “50”.
Returning to his early life in Sierra Leone, the Witness added that he was captured by the rebels in Kamagua, clarifying that these were Gibril Massaquoi’s rebel forces, the RUF. When asked whether Mr. Massaquoi was the leader, the Witness explained that Mr. Massaquoi was the spokesman. According to the Witness, Mr. Massaquoi brought him to Liberia. He noted that other people were there as well, but he could not remember their names and noted that most had died. One person whose name he could recall was Superman, who was one of the commanders that came with them.
The Witness added that Superman was now dead, and that Gibril Massaquoi killed him. The Witness explained that he knew Mr. Massaquoi killed Superman because the Witness was behind Superman when the killing took place, and added that Superman was killed in Lofa. The Witness further elaborated on the killing, stating that Mr. Massaquoi killed Superman over the diamond business. Further, the Witness added, Mr. Massaquoi used Benjamin Yeaten to kill Superman, because Mr. Yeaten had higher authority. The Witness clarified that Mr. Massaquoi ordered someone to kill Superman and it was 50 who killed Superman, and responded affirmatively when the Prosecutor asked whether he saw 50 kill Superman.
Turning to his arrival in Liberia, the Witness stated that he was sure he arrived in 2000. The Witness explained that they first went to Vahun, where they were based. The Witness added that they were fighting against LURD. The Witness estimated that they fought against LURD in Vahun or Lofa for more than a year. As for his travel to Monrovia, the Witness explained that they came to Monrovia throughout the fighting, clarifying that they did not go directly from Vahun to Monrovia, but that they were fighting from place to place and town to town. The Witness estimated that it took more than a year for them to fight from town to town until they arrived in Monrovia, noting that it was a long time. The Witness further affirmed that Mr. Massaquoi fought with them in Vahun all the way to Monrovia, though there were times when Mr. Massaquoi was not with the forces.
On the subject of fighting in Waterside, the Witness stated that they fought LURD forces there. According to the Witness, Mr. Massaquoi fought alongside him and the other soldiers. The Witness believed that he saw Mr. Massaquoi in 2003 or 2004, during combat in Waterside. The Witness explained that he fought at Waterside until the end of the war, which he recalled was in 2004. When the war ended, the Witness was in the hospital, as he had been injured by a car in Waterside.
The Witness remembered that, when he was injured, Mr. Massaquoi was in the E.J. Roye building, where he used to be assigned. The Witness explained that the E.J. Roye building is not at Waterside, but that the main building where 50 assigned Mr. Massaquoi was around Waterside. The Witness clarified that Mr. Massaquoi was in Waterside when the Witness was wounded. The Witness could not recall how long the war lasted after he was wounded, but he remembered that he was at the hospital when the war ended. He knew the war had ended because “everything was over”. The Witness stated that he received plenty of treatment at the hospital for the wound to his mouth. He further added that he last saw Mr. Massaquoi when he was wounded in his mouth, because it happened in Mr. Massaquoi’s car and Mr. Massaquoi was with him.
The Witness provided additional information about the accident. He stated that the accident occurred on the Old Bridge, where the car hit a barricade and turned over. The car was a Toyota Hilux, and had weapons attached to it, as it was a BZT car.
Defense Counsel Questions the Witness
Defense opened by asking the Witness who captured him in Sierra Leone to join the RUF. The Witness stated that it was Superman himself who captured him. The Witness did not know if someone sent Superman to capture him, or if he did this on his own. As to what the Witness did with Superman on the Liberian side, the Witness stated that Superman did not do anything in Liberia before he died. He added that he was small when he was captured in Sierra Leone, so did not see anything there. With reference to the Witness’ interview with Finnish police, the Witness confirmed his prior statement that “Superman saved the boys and took them to a training camp and started to train them”. The Witness stated that the rebel leader was Foday Sankoh, and Superman was just the commander. Defense Counsel noted that this differed slightly from the Witness’ prior statement, but that he could understand the error.
Defense Counsel referred to the Witness’ answer to the Prosecution, wherein the Witness stated he was under Mr. Massaquoi’s command, asking whether the Witness recalled what he told the Finnish police. The Witness stated that he did, and added that he was under Mr. Massaquoi’s command during the war. The Witness clarified that Superman was his commander in the training camp, and that it was when he arrived in Liberia that he and Mr. Massaquoi got together. The Witness further stated that when he left Sierra Leone to go to Liberia, Superman was his commander, and that Mr. Massaquoi was not with him when he crossed the border. According to the Witness, Mr. Massaquoi came after they crossed, once they had arrived in Lofa and Vahun. When Superman and Mr. Massaquoi were both in Vahun, the Witness’ commander was Superman, and the Witness fell under Mr. Massaquoi’s command when Superman was killed. The Witness clarified that Mr. Massaquoi was present in Vahun and Lofa the whole time after Superman died, adding that Mr. Massaquoi “was the one taking care of the troops after Superman died”. The Witness thought Superman died in 2000 or 1999, but could not remember.
The Witness recalled that, when he met Mr. Massaquoi, he told the Witness that “he did not want to take part in the Liberian war, but he had to do it because he did not want to die”. The Witness could not recall what he told police about Mr. Massaquoi’s movement in Vahun, so Defense Counsel read in the Witness’ statement, which was: “when Gibril came, he usually said that he did not want to fight… he told me that any time you don’t see me, I’m gone, but he used to come and go”. The Witness explained that this meant that Mr. Massaquoi used to come and fight with them, but then would disappear without warning. He further clarified that this did not happen in Vahun, but in Monrovia.
Turning to the wound the Witness suffered, the Witness stated that during the war he was only wounded only that one time, when Mr. Massaquoi was around. The Witness recalled that he told the police he got injured in the car, but that the police did not ask about the location of the accident, so he did not tell them where it occurred. The Witness added that he did not participate in fighting again after he was wounded.
Returning to the Witness’ travel to Monrovia, the Witness explained that, after they left Vahun, they went to Bomi. He knew of Kongborhun, which was part of Lofa. He stated that Kongborhun was far from Vahun, but that it was closer to Vahun than it was to Monrovia. Referring to the Witness’ statement to the police, Defense Counsel noted that the Witness told Finnish police that the only time he was wounded was on the way from Vahun to Kongborhun when the car fell off the bridge, causing several of the Witness’ teeth to fall out. The Witness agreed with this statement. Defense then asked whether it was after the accident that Mr. Massaquoi told the Witness he could no longer go to the frontline, and the Witness again agreed. He added that he received treatment for his mouth and teeth.
Defense then recalled that the Witness had been asked about incidents occurring in Lofa and Kamatahun, and the judges interjected to remind the Witness that he did not have to answer any questions that might incriminate him. The Witness stated that he understood, and went on to explain that he heard of killing in Kamatahun, but did not take part in it. He stated that “Zig Zag Marzah was the one that did the killing”. The Witness further had not ever heard that Mr. Massaquoi had taken part in this. At first, the Witness did not recall whether Mr. Massaquoi was referred to by any other name, but, when asked by Defense whether he had heard the name “Angel Gabriel”, the Witness stated that Angel Gabriel was Gibril Massaquoi’s name there. The Witness explained that he heard the name when they were fighting.
Referring to the Witness’ statement to Finnish police, taken in May 2021, Defense noted that the Witness had stated that Mr. Massaquoi did not use any other name, that he had not heard the name “Angel Gabriel”, and that, when asked whether anybody referred to Gibril Massaquoi as Angel Gabriel, with Witness answered that he would not know whether Mr. Massaquoi used any name other than Gibril Massaquoi. The Witness explained that it had been a long time, and he couldn’t remember, though he could not recall how many years it had been. When asked why he remembered the name now, the Witness explained that it was because Defense had talked about it.
Defense Counsel then turned to the connection between Mr. Massaquoi and the death of Superman, noting that the Witness had not made this connection during his police interview. The Witness stated that the police never asked him for this. Defense Counsel read from the Witness’ statement, which noted that Superman was killed in Vahun, Liberia by Benjamin Yeaten and General Stanley (Bush Commando). The Witness agreed, stating that this was a coup, and agreeing that they organised an ambush where Superman died. Defense noted that the Witness did not mention Mr. Massaquoi at all as part of this plan, to which the Witness replied, “he was part of it”. The Witness did not know Superman’s real name.
The Witness recalled the name Sweet Candy, noting that this was a different commander, but that he did not know Sweet Candy’s real name. The Witness also did not know Zig Zag Marzah’s real name.
The Witness did not remember the month he first came to Liberia, but stated that the year was 1999. Defense referred to the Witness’ police statement, wherein the Witness had stated that the year was 2000 and that the month might have been March. The Witness agreed that this was possible.
Prosecution Questions the Witness Further
Prosecution returned to the topic of the accident, asking the Witness to clarify where it happened as during the investigation he stated it was in Lofa and not Waterside. The Witness stated that it was not in Waterside, but in Lofa. The Prosecution asked the Witness whether he was in the hospital when the war ended, and the Witness affirmed that he was. He explained that, sometimes in war, if you are afraid and don’t want to go on the frontline, you can say you are wounded. The Prosecution asked the Witness why he said that he went to the hospital because of this accident, and the Witness stated that he did not want to fight again, affirming that he went to the hospital because he wanted to leave the frontline. The Witness acknowledged that it was difficult for a soldier to admit that.
The Prosecution closed with the Witness confirming again that Mr. Massaquoi was in Waterside when he left for the hospital.
Witness Y5 is Heard
The Prosecution Questions the Witness
The Witness began by describing his experience with wars in Liberia from 1994 to 2003. The Witness stated that, when the war started in 1994, he went with a group of boys to Gbarnga, Bong County. At that time, boys were being recruited to fight, either through arrests or because they joined willingly. The Witness and his group fought until 1996 when Taylor came into power. The Witness recalled that they were in Duala at the time. Taylor had a base for militias at Red Hill Field in Virginia, Brewersville. The Witness stated that he was in his own Jungle Fire group. Later, the Witness heard that LURD forces were coming, and during that time, he and his group would sometimes be brought to fight, and then return. The Witness stated that this happened until WW3, in 2003, when they could no longer keep the LURD forces back and so retreated to Waterside.
The Witness clarified that, by Taylor, he meant Charles Taylor. He further explained that he fought for Charles Taylor, and confirmed that there were Sierra Leonean fighters in Taylor’s forces. He remembered Salame and Gibril Massaquoi: “we used to call him Angel Gabriel”. The Witness did not recall any other names, but repeated that Angel Gabriel and Gibril Massaquoi were the same person. He believed Gibril Massaquoi was from the RUF, and stated that he used to come with delegates from Sierra Leone. The Witness did not remember when Gibril Massaquoi came to Liberia, but recalled that Mr. Massaquoi was in Waterside when the Witness was there. He added that during the day, Mr. Massaquoi did not go outside, and that he used to drive a black jeep in the evening. Further, Mr. Massaquoi spoke Krio English.
The Witness then stated that he saw Mr. Massaquoi during WW3. The Witness could not remember which month in 2003 that he saw Mr. Massaquoi in Waterside, as, in his mind, soldiers did not think of the dates or months while fighting, but he recalled that they fought until 26 July.
The Witness then described the type of situations he saw Angel Gabriel in. He stated that, when Charles Taylor had special operations, he would send Benjamin Yeaten to deliver the orders. One Friday, the Witness and his group believed that the LURD forces were gone, because they had been in Clara Town that day. Then Benjamin Yeaten came and delivered orders to Angel Gabriel, who called the Witness and his group behind a store, telling them that LURD forces had retreated. According to the Witness, Angel Gabriel then told the Witness and his group that they should carry out an attack to check where the LURD forces were. During this attack, the Witness stated, they discovered that the LURD forces had not retreated, but were hiding in a building. The LURD forces killed one of their generals and some of the Witness’ friends that day, and so he and his group retreated.
The Witness then stated that he saw that civilians were abused during the war. According to the Witness, on one occasion, Benjamin Yeaten came and told them civilians were looting a store, and left Gibril Massaquoi in charge. The Witness stated that Mr. Massaquoi was not doing anything about the looting. Then, one night, the Witness and his group heard sounds from the store, so they told Mr. Massaquoi that they were going to the store because they wanted to scare the looters away, as they usually did. Mr. Massaquoi told them not to, and then, to their surprise he went to the store and started shooting people. The Witness admitted that he also shot people. The Witness said there were plenty of bodies that day, more than ten, but that they did not bother counting them. The Witness stated that he and his group continued fighting after this incident, but nothing happened after Mr. Massaquoi shot people, because he had been given an order to not allow looting. The civilians were used to remove the bodies. The Witness then confirmed that this incident happened in WW3.
The Witness then spoke more about Angel Gabriel’s location in Waterside. He stated that Angel Gabriel would be up at a store, and the Witness and his group would be on the road. The store was not at the bridge, but was on the road going up Front Street.
The Witness stated that he last saw Angel Gabriel the year that there were peace talks between LURD and his group. He saw Angel Gabriel in Waterside, at night. The Witness stated that “the chief” came, and he, Angel Gabriel, and another Sierra Leonean guy got in a black jeep, but the Witness did not know where they went.
The Witness described the end of the war, recalling that LURD forces were on the other side of the Gabriel Tucker Bridge, also known as the Old Bridge, but that most people died, and they used to cross and look for food. When the war ended, they met LURD forces on the bridge and shook hands. He did not recall what month the end was in, but he recalled that Charles Taylor was still in Liberia. Gibril Massaquoi was not there when they went to shake hands, as the night before that, “the chief” came for him.
Defense Counsel Questions the Witness
Defense opened by asking the Witness to explain how the Finnish police came to interview him. According to the Witness, he was working in Bong County, and one of his friends, told him that there was a man from Finland who wanted to talk to him. The Witness asked what he wanted to talk about, and his friend told him to just come and the man would tell him. Before the interview, his friend only told the Witness that people wanted to see them. The Witness also stated that his friend got in touch with the Finnish police through [Employee 1]. Before talking to the Finnish police, the Witness stated that he did not talk to [Employee 1].
Referring to the Witness’ statement from May 2021, Defense Counsel noted that the Witness told police officers he received a call from [Employee 1]. The Witness stated that [Employee 1] went through his friend because [Employee 1] did not know the Witness, and repeated that his friend called the Witness.
The Witness explained that, during the phone call he received, he was asked whether he took part in the war, and what he knew about the war. The Witness asked why he was asking these questions, and his friend said that the white men from Finland wanted to talk about it. Defense Counsel asked the Witness to clarify whether his friend knew that he took part in the war. The Witness stated that he did, but that he did not know why his friend asked him that question. The Witness stated that his friend did not ask him about any troops or groups, but that his friend did ask whether he knew any RUF connected with the war in Liberia.
Defense again noted that the recording of the Witness’ prior statement indicated that [Employee 1] contacted him, and the Witness explained that it was through his friend that he got to know [Employee 1]. Defense Counsel asked the Witness to clarify, as the Witness had just said he did not speak with [Employee 1]. The Witness explained that he spoke with his friend on the phone, and the latter introduced him to [Employee 1]. The Witness added that he and his friend did not travel to Monrovia together, but met up in the city, and his friend brought him to be interviewed. The Witness again stated that he did not speak with [Employee 1], and that it was his friend who told the Witness that the man from Finland wanted to speak with him.
Defense Counsel played a recording of the Witness’ police interview, in which he stated, “I received a phone call from a man called [Employee 1]”. The recording was paused, and the Witness stated that he made a mistake, repeating that his friend called him. The recording continued, and the Witness was heard to have stated, “so when [Employee 1] called me, I did not know that the phone rang because I was up working. When I picked up […] he said, ‘did you take part in Liberian civil war?’”
Defense Counsel then asked the Witness again who first contacted the Witness. The Witness maintained that he may have made a mistake, but the first person who contacted the Witness was his friend, because they were friends.
Defense Counsel turned their questioning to the topic of a delegation that came to Liberia in the 90s. The Witness explained that he did not come into close contact with this delegation, as he did not have sufficient rank, and added that it was an RUF delegation. He did not recall why this delegation came to Liberia, but believed this was in either 1996 or 1997. He stated that Angel Gabriel was in the delegation, adding that he was not close with him as he had been during WW3, and also that he saw Angel Gabriel on Charles Taylor’s farm in Arthington. Defense noted that the Witness had previously opined that the RUF came to Liberia in 1997 or1998, and the Witness responded that he did not really remember the year. Defense Counsel asked whether this could have been in 1999 or 2000, to which the Witness replied that he did not believe that to be the case. Other than Angel Gabriel, the Witness only recalled Salame being part of the delegation. He explained that they did not know the real names of people like Angel Gabriel or Salame, adding that it was only when he was shown pictures that he remembered the name of Angel Gabriel.
Referring to the Witness’ prior statements to Finnish police about the delegation, Defense Counsel noted that the Witness had indicated that he was in Duala when the delegation arrived, and asked the Witness to clarify where he first saw the delegation. The Witness maintained that he first saw them in Arthington, and noted that he could not remember the actual year. He then stated that, whether it was in Duala or in Arthington, he saw the delegation.
Defense Counsel then played the Witness’ statement to the police, wherein he stated: “the delegation came before 2003 at that time I was in Duala. It could be about ‘97 or ‘98 something like that… I was in Duala… They were Sierra Leoneans.” Responding to the recording, the Witness explained that the delegation contained people that would come and go to different places every once in a while. So, even if the Witness said that he saw him in Duala, it did not mean that he did not see him at Charles Taylor’s house.
Turning to the looting incident that the Witness described earlier in his testimony, Defense Counsel asked whether Angel Gabriel was alone in shooting people, or whether others were also shooting. The Witness explained that, on that particular night, Angel Gabriel himself did the shooting, but on other nights, he gave orders. The Witness added that, one night, he gave them orders to kill people beside the river. The Witness further clarified that Angel Gabriel would only go to them at night. On that particular night, he told the Witness and his group, “any time you catch somebody looting, you should kill them”. The Witness stated that this was an order that Angel Gabriel gave frequently, but “we never followed his orders until that night he did the shooting… at first, we did not obey him”. One of the judges briefly interjected to remind the Witness against making self-incriminating statements. The Witness continued his testimony, noting that, after Angel Gabriel did the shooting, when they caught anyone looting, they would just kill them.
The Witness then began explaining how many times he had met Massaquoi in Monrovia. The Witness explained that he was closer to Massaquoi in Waterside, compared to when they were at Charles Taylor’s home. The Witness stated that he saw Massaquoi in three places: Charles Taylor’s home, Duala, and Waterside. He was unable to say exactly how many times he saw Mr. Massaquoi in Waterside, noting that he stayed in Waterside for a long time, and was based there. The Witness then clarified that Benjamin Yeaten was the commander in Waterside around the bridge area, and explained that Tony Montana was another commander in Waterside, for a different group but on the same side as the Witness. The Witness stated that Gibril Massaquoi had a room in Waterside to stay in, and added that, sometimes during the day, Mr. Massaquoi would sleep in the store he had previously mentioned, confirming that this store was in Rock Town Hill. Further, Mr. Massaquoi occasionally stayed at 12 Houses Road. When asked by Defense whether this was where Mr. Massaquoi lived, the Witness explained “that man was not living in this country, to say he had his house and married, no”.
Returning to the subject of commanders in Waterside, the Witness explained that everybody had their own unit, and within each small group, there was a commander. The Witness confirmed that “I Mean It” was another general in Waterside.
Defense then asked the Witness about the last time he saw Mr. Massaquoi, when he got into a jeep with another individual. The Witness explained that this happened in Waterside, the night before the ceasefire. The Witness could not recall any other details about Mr. Massaquoi as he went to the jeep. Defense Counsel noted that, in his interview with police, the Witness had stated that Mr. Massaquoi was playing music with friends and smoking. The Witness stated that smoking and music were usual things, and he guessed that Mr. Massaquoi did smoke when asked by Defense. He then repeated that he last saw Mr. Massaquoi in Waterside. Defense, referring to the Witness’ statement to police, noted that the Witness had said Mr. Massaquoi was “up there” when asked about this. The Witness explained that he meant “up the hill, where they sat down. The man came with the jeep and they left. The next day was ceasefire”. Defense asked for further clarification, and the Witness stated that, by “up there”, he meant Rock Town Hill, which was still in Waterside. Defense then asked the Witness what time of day it was when he last saw Mr. Massaquoi, and the Witness stated that he believed it was at night.
Defense Counsel then asked the Witness whether he recognised a couple names: [FNM-258], who the Witness stated was his former classmate; and [FNM-259], who the Witness distinguished from [FNM-129], and identified as a Sierra Leonean whose real name he did not know.
The Witness stated that, after he discussed this with Finnish police, he did not discuss this with anyone else.
Witness Y4 is Heard
The Prosecution Questions the Witness
The Witness began by speaking about his experiences during the Second Liberian Civil War, from 1999 to 2003. He stated that people did many bad things during the war, especially in 2003. He was about 13 or 14 years old at the time. When the war first hit Monrovia, in 1990, he was a little boy, and his family fled from Monrovia to Lofa on foot. During the time they were fleeing to Lofa, the Witness became separated from his parents. Once the Witness returned, he found his father, who taught him construction practices. It was through this work that the Witness’ father brought him to Charles Taylor’s former home in Arthington. There were many ATU guys that he met in Arthington, including his brother. Every week, he would go to Arthington, and there, they built Charles Taylor’s house, the barracks, and some other houses. After some time, the Witness stopped working there, because his uncle developed eye problems. The Witness and his brother, who was in the ATU but also a contractor, started looking for a new contract. His brother was a bodyguard for General Winnie, so they had access to most of the generals there. They began working for General Winnie and later on, they went to work at Benjamin Yeaten’s mother’s place. When things were not good at the construction site, the Witness would do work with some of the ATU guys – for example, one of the soldiers under Benjamin Yeaten’s command recommended the Witness and his brother do work for Benjamin Yeaten at Dupont Road and Pipeline. While they did this work, there were several occasions – more than two or three, the Witness indicated – where people would come, put everyone in the pickup, and send them to the front. Then, wherever the soldiers went, they would order the workers to take their bags and arms. It did not matter whether you were a builder or a soldier, either way, you would be brought along. The Witness clarified that he went to the frontline on three occasions – to Monrovia, Waterside, and the Old Bridge. There, the Witness stated, he saw many terrible things.
The Witness repeated that, when he was on the frontlines, his role was to carry the arms and ammunition for the soldiers. He described an instance where he witnessed heavy firing at the bridge between LURD forces and government troops. The Witness was on the hill on Mechlin Street, and was told to carry a load to the troops in West Point. At the delivery location in West Point, they heard heavy firing, and they returned. Upon their return, they saw many casualties, both soldiers and civilians, but mainly civilians. When they asked what had happened, they were told that LURD was firing. The Witness stated that there were two bridges upon which the fighting was taking place, and that there were many commanders there, including [FNM-260] on the New Bridge and [FNM-129] on the Old Bridge. Benjamin Yeaten was also there, and he would “patrol restlessly”. The Witness indicated that there were other commanders controlling the Old Bridge, and that the fighting mainly happened around the LEC gate to the West Point junction towards Johansen.
The Witness clarified that the soldiers, militias, and ATUs were the ones who put him in the car and brought him to the front, and that this happened in 2002 and 2003. The Witness indicated that he saw many Sierra Leonean soldiers when he was in Waterside, and stated that these troops fought alongside the ATU and were called “Camajor”. He repeated that [FNM-260] and Salame were commanders, as were Prince and Gabriel from Sierra Leone, as well as Benjamin Yeaten and [FNM-129]. According to the Witness, Gabriel was a Camajor from Sierra Leone who was “a strong fighter”. The Witness clarified that Gabriel was the commander of the Camajor group from Sierra Leone, and added that Gabriel was “always” with Benjamin Yeaten. The Witness reiterated that he would see them in Duport Road, around the Kiss FM area in 2002 or 2003. The Witness could not recall the month the war ended in Monrovia, but believed it was 2003, when Taylor left power.
Prosecutor returned to the statement on incidents with civilian deaths and asked if the Witness saw any himself. The Witness confirmed that he saw many incidents that resulted in the deaths of civilians, and recounted again the incident he described that occurred in West Point where he heard firing and once he arrived saw many dead bodies. He was told that LURD rebels were shelling from across the bridge, which caused civilians to then start shooting. The Witness also reported that they were told that a Sierra Leonean guy died, which resulted in the shooting. According to the Witness, when one commander asked who was responsible, he was told “Gabriel Massaquoi”. The Witness heard from other people that when Gabriel Massaquoi was called by higher authority about the shooting, he said it was because civilians were looting and he was trying to scare them.
The Witness clarified that when he heard gunfire, he went running to West Point, where he saw many dead bodies. People were asking Gabriel and the other people in charge questions. The Witness explained that he was not a soldier, so he could not get too close. According to the Witness, the other Liberian boys became upset and said, “you killing our people too much because of one of your men that died”. The Witness confirmed that Gabriel Massaquoi was at the scene when the incident happened, and that he saw Mr. Massaquoi himself. The Witness added that that was the third time he saw Massaquoi that day, as he had seen him earlier on Duport Road.
The Witness indicated that the incident in question occurred close to the end of the war: “the war was almost over; it was in the same 2003”. The Witness did not recall the date or month he last saw Gabriel Massaquoi, but that it was around Old Congo Town. He added that this was right after the incident in Waterside, and that he saw Mr. Massaquoi around the Kiss FM radio station, which, according to the Witness, was where Mr. Massaquoi resided.
Finally, the Witness stated that Mr. Massaquoi spoke Sierra Leonean Krio, but that he also had “sound English”. Other than the name “Massaquoi”, he was called Gabriel, Gibril, or Chief.
Defense Counsel Questions the Witness
Defense opened by asking whether the Witness was in Monrovia in 2000 or 2001. The Witness stated that he had been in Monrovia since 1992. When he was building the house and barracks at Charles Taylor’s property, he noted that he never would enter the buildings, but that there were many Sierra Leoneans on the property. When asked whether he observed Gabriel Massaquoi in 2000 or 2001, the Witness stated he could not say the exact date, but that there was war at the time. The Witness then clarified that he saw Gabriel Massaquoi on two or three occasions, but that he was brought to the frontlines more than three times. He added that he went to the frontlines many times, and that he occasionally went there on his own to find food.
When asked whether he knew who was the number one commander for the militias, the Witness indicated that it was Benjamin Yeaten. Other than Yeaten, the Witness remembered Salame, and Gabriel was the head for Sierra Leone. He again stated that they had many commanders, including Roland Duo, [FNM-260], and Salame, but that Yeaten was the overall boss. The Witness indicated that he did not know who was in charge of the navy, as he was not a soldier, to which Defense Counsel stated that Roland Duo was the navy commander. The Witness explained that he was not too concerned about everyone’s functions at the time, as he first got to know those guys while he was working as a builder. The Witness stated that J.C. Winnie was the supreme commander for the ATU, and that Momo Giba was a bodyguard for the president, who the Witness saw in Arthington. Defense noted that their information showed that Moma Giba was the head of the ATU, to which the Witness stated that there were many commanders, but he knew J.C. Winnie and Chucky Taylor were commanders for the ATU.
Defense asked whether there were ever any orders that Sierra Leoneans should be removed from the frontlines, and the Witness stated that he heard rumours of this close to the departure of the president. According to the Witness, some of the Sierra Leoneans left the frontlines, and some of them were killed. When asked whether they were killed by Liberian government troops, the Witness stated that the information he received was that the commander Mosquito was killed in Nimba and that most of them fled overnight. Defense asked the Witness to clarify whether the Sierra Leoneans were killed in Nimba or Monrovia, to which the Witness replied that they had been told to withdraw from the frontline, and many of them were with their commander, Sam Bockarie, also known as General Mosquito. According to the Witness, they were killed in Nimba.
On the topic of Sam Bockarie, the Witness indicated that Bockarie was on a mission in Liberia and that he “brought most of those guys”. The Witness did not see him fight in Monrovia, but stated that he fought in Gbarnga and in Lofa. As for how Bockarie died, the Witness stated that he was not present at the time, but according to information he received, there was a direct order from Charles Taylor to kill him “so as to destroy evidence”. The Witness repeated that he was not present when Sam Bockarie died, and so did not see Gabriel Massaquoi there. The Witness did not recall whether the West Point incident happened before or after Bockarie’s death.
Defense Counsel then played a recording of the Witness’ statement to police relating to the last time he saw Mr. Massaquoi. In the recording, the Witness stated, “My last time seeing him was when this guy died, General Mosquito. They killed him in Nimba, I don’t know where that guy went. That was when the ceasefire came”. In response, the Witness stated that the last time he saw Gabriel was around Kiss FM, and that this all happened around the same time. Defense asked the Witness where he received the information that Mosquito was killed in Nimba, and the Witness stated that he was among the soldiers where “information was not hidden”. The Witness added that he was on the Duport Road towards Roland Duo’s place when he heard this information.
After a brief conversation between the lawyers in Finnish, Defense turned to the topic of how the Witness met the Finnish police. The Witness stated that one of his friends, who he previously worked with, gave his number to [Employee 1] . The Witness did not recall his friend’s full name, nor did he remember when his number was given to [Employee 1] . Defense noted that the Witness was interviewed on 6 June 2021, and asked whether the number was given a long time before that. The Witness indicated that he spoke with [Employee 1] for a long time. According to the Witness, [Employee 1] told the Witness that some people were coming from Finland to discuss the war in Liberia. The Witness then clarified that they did not speak for several weeks, but that [Employee 1] asked the Witness where he was, and after some time, he called the Witness again to ask him to come to Monrovia. The first time the Witness came was when he met the policeman. The Witness repeated that the friend who gave his number worked with him, specifically on building Benjamin Yeaten’s mother’s house. As for what [Employee 1] told him, the Witness repeated that [Employee 1] told him some white people wanted to talk to him, and when the Witness asked him about what, [Employee 1] stated that they wanted to speak with those who know about the war. Defense then asked the Witness whether [Employee 1] told the Witness that he was investigating people who committed crimes, to which the Witness stated that he had not. Referring to a summary of the Witness’ police interview, Defense noted that the summary indicated the Witness had said that [Employee 1] told him that police from Finland were investigating people that did things during the war, and that they wanted people to testify. The Witness agreed that [Employee 1] told him people were coming from Finland to investigate. The Witness stated that [Employee 1] did not specify any name, but that he did say the police were coming to investigate.
Defense played a recording of the Witness’ interview several times, which stated “[Employee 1] told me that you were investigating and you wanted people to testify against those that took part in the war”. The Witness responded by stating that he simply spoke with [Employee 1] on the phone, and that he knows a lot about the war.
Defense played a different section of the recording, which stated, “my friend […]said [Employee 1] asked if I knew some of those guys from Sierra Leone that fought alongside Charles Taylor, and I said I have experience on some people because we were with them and saw some of them. I was with General Winnie”.
The hearings closed for the day and the trial was set to resume on 20 September 2021 in Monrovia, Liberia.