The 46th day of public hearings resumed on 20th of September in Monrovia, Liberia.
Witness Y6 is Heard
The Prosecution questions the Witness
The Prosecution begins by asking the Witness to share his experience of the civil war. The Witness explained that his experience of the conflicts spanned from 1998 to 2003. In September 1998, when the war began at his home-town of Foya the Witness was in school. He decided to join ‘the rebels’ and used a gun for the first time with [FNM-264] “which was called Mosquito, our general. He was Liberian’. They first fought from Foya to Voinjama. Once in Voinjama the Witness decided to join the ATU in Monrovia, as ‘I could not continue fighting in this bush’. After joining the ATU troops, the Witness was assigned to the Kolahun district. There, he encountered “Jimmy Massaquoi“, who provided supplies and “later [he] left” upon Sam Bockarie’s orders ‘which is general Mosquito, a Sierra Leonean’. ‘Jimmy Massaquoi’ was present in Popalahun when the witness’ group put some children in a mosque before it was set on fire. The Witness specified that he did not know who gave the order to burn down the mosque. When the war became more intense in Popalahun, he was transferred to Foya where he stayed for around two months before being transferred again, to Kamatahun and “Yadanhun”. He then returned to Monrovia to join Charles Taylor. They fought WW1, WW2 and WW3 at the New Bridge, whose commander was [FNM-263]. When the fighting escalated, the Witness was shot in the leg and taken to hospital.
The Witness, upon questioning by the Prosecution, specified that the ‘rebels’ he had joined were the RUF, and stated that his commanders were General Issa and Superman. The Witness said that ‘Jimmy Massaquoi‘ was a supply man for the RUF, acting as a mediator for Sam Bockarie and Charles Taylor. He later explained that he did not know his exact function, only that he was close to Sam Bockarie. The first time he saw Massaquoi was in Popalahun, in 2001. The Witness explained that he saw Massaquoi twice during his time in Lofa: once in Foya District, the other in Popalahun in 2001. The Witness never saw him at the New Bridge. He saw [FNM-263], Benjamin Yeaten and other generals there but did not remember seeing Jimmy Massaquoi. The Witness explained that a friend of his, [FNM-247], an ATU officer, told him that Jimmy Massaquoi was in Monrovia to see Taylor, but he himself did not Witness it; he added that he did not know what Jimmy Massaquoi’s mission was. He said that Massaquoi sometimes wore a military uniform but that most of the time he wore ordinary clothes and that he saw him once in a white Jeep on AB Tolbert Road and that [FNM-247] told him that he drove Massaquoi to Sam Bockarie. At that time WW1 was going on, and the fighting started at Klay, Bomi County to Monrovia. The Prosecution asked the Witness whether Jimmy Massaquoi used other names. The Witness replied that there was another name but could not remember it.
The Defense questions the Witness
The Defense opened by asking how the Witness became involved in the interview with the Finnish police. The Witness explained that he was in Gbarpolu when a friend of his [FNM-261] told him that people were looking for former soldiers who had participated in the war. This happened at the beginning of 2021. The Defense brought up Witness’ earlier statement where he had indicated that [FNM-247] phoned him and told him to come to the interview, but the Witness specified that it had been [FNM-261], as he knew about the program. He elaborated that [FNM-247] came to his work site from Monrovia and explained to him the interview process with the Finnish police. The Witness mentioned that [FNM-247] had died a month before the Witness testimony.
The Witness explained that he was at school in Foya District when the war broke out on September 11: he joined the RUF and was taken to Bouyoudu. When asked, the Witness confirmed that his father’s death had an impact on him joining the war, as he ‘a problem with me joining the war’, and had kept him from doing so, as it was against his religion. The Witness said that his father had died at the end of the war in 2003 from a rocket explosion. The Defense countered that in the police interview the Witness had indicated that his father had died in Foya, and that he had decided to enlist and avenge his father. The Witness clarified that it was his stepfather, who had raised him. The Witness then explained that he was not in Freetown when he heard of his stepfather’s death, but in the Sierra Leonean border region of Foya. The Defense then returned to the Witness’ statement to the Prosecution about where he saw Jimmy Massaquoi and the Witness reiterated that he did not see Massaquoi in Monrovia but in Popalahun.
The Defense asked the Witness about his contact with the Finnish police. He explained that [FNM-261] had contacted him and took him to the police: it was the first time he had met [FNM-261], and have not seen him again, but they had been in contact. Before his current testimony, he had been contacted by “one big brother”, whose name he did not know but it wasn’t [FNM-261].
The Prosecution asks further questions
The Prosecution returned to the discrepancies between the police interview – according to which the Witness last saw Massaquoi at the EJ Roye building in 2003, at the end of the war – and the present testimony in court. The Witness reiterated that he did not see Massaquoi in Monrovia, only in Popalahun. However, he said that his friend [FNM-247] drove Massaquoi to Sam Bockarie in Monrovia. The Prosecution then asked the Witness about Massaquoi’s position in the RUF. The Witness had told the court that Massaquoi did not have a ‘special position’, and the Prosecution asked him if he remembered what he had said to the Finnish police. He replied that Massaquoi was a “big man” in the RUF but that he could not say what his rank was, that perhaps he was in charge of logistics. The Prosecution reminded him that in the police interview, the Witness had said that Jimmy Massaquoi was a spokesman. The Witness explained that he meant that Massaquoi talked to the soldiers and brought them material.
The Prosecution closed its line of questioning by asking the Witness when he saw Massaquoi in Foya. The Witness replied that he saw Massaquoi in 1999 in Popalahun but could not remember when he saw him in Foya. He said Massaquoi used to visit Sam Bockarie on Gbonba road in Foya.
The Defense asks further questions
The Defense then questioned the Witness about the escalation of the war in Waterside. The Witness explained that the war escalated within three months. WWI, WW2 and WW3 in 2003. The Defense noted that in the summary of the police interview, the Witness had said that the war escalated in 2001-2002 in Waterside. The Witness replied that this was the same period.
Witness Y8 is Heard
The Prosecution questions Witness Y8
The Prosecution began by questioning the Witness about his experience of the second Liberian civil war between 1999 and 2003. The Witness’ experience with the war was limited to the year 2003: he joined the war through General Solo. He was introduced to General Gray and became a food officer, assigned to the bridge at Waterside. The Witness said that there were many generals there, such as Generals Gray, Chaclay and Salame, also the BZT commander, [FNM-263]. There was also a general who came to the front line from time to time, Angel Gabriel. The Witness explained that there were different groups, the RUF and the Liberian fighters there. His role was to cook and take food to various checkpoints, including Slip Way and Red Lights. He recounted one situation he witnessed following the president’s order against looting. After the Witness finished cooking, he saw Angel Gabriel arrive with a few men at the back of a pickup truck. Some were tied up, without clothes. Angel Gabriel said they were looters and left them with his men and left. Then, general Gray and Salame arrived to the scene and, as they were arguing, they were hit by a mortar shell that killed many people: Gray got wounded at his leg, and Salame died. When Angel Gabriel returned, he said that the looters were responsible for Salame’s death and gave orders to kill them all. This was the last time the Witness saw Angel Gabriel. The Witness continued that following the intensification of the war even he, who worked in the kitchen, had to join the fighting. He said that whenever they delivered food supplies, they saw dead bodies. He recounted an episode where General Shaklay ordered the militia to beat up people they accused of looting.
The Prosecution then asked whether when he was in Waterside in 2003 there were many RUF soldiers. The Witness affirmed and explained that these soldiers had come from Sierra Leone with Angel Gabriel, their general. He saw most of them while he was in Monrovia. The Prosecution then questioned the Witness about the time when he saw “Angel Gabriel and his boys” bring naked and tied men because they were looting. He ordered the Agbah troops to guard these men because the Witness said that ‘when they catch you they don’t kill right away‘. The Witness explained that Agbah was the name used in Liberia for the RUF. The Prosecution asked the Witness whether he had seen and heard Angel Gabriel give the orders. The Witness replied that he did, that the place where he was cooking was right next to the place of the incident. He was present when Angel Gabriel gave the order to kill the looters. The Witness said that Angel Gabriel was angry because of Salame’s death. The Witness also indicated that this was the year 2003. When asked about the duration of the war after this incident, the Witness responded that after this incident the war lasted another three months, until June/July. The Prosecution reformulated the question, asking how long after the incident the war had ended. This time the Witness responded that “it took long but I can’t remember how long. When UNMIL came in before it stopped.”. The Prosecution asked the Witness if Angel Gabriel had another name. The Witness replied that this was the only name by which he was called and that he did not know any other. The Witness also indicated that Angel Gabriel spoke like a Sierra Leonean. The Prosecution asked where Angel Gabriel had taken the looters. The Witness said he took them to Waterside Bridge, called Vai Town Bridge. He specified that the looters were taken below the bridge. Once the order to kill the looters was given, Angel Gabriel left. The looters were then killed and thrown into the water. The Prosecution asked how much time had passed from when the Witness decided to go home because ‘you saw too many bodies’ until the war ended; the Witness responded that ‘it didn’t take too long’.
The Defense questions the Witness Y8
The Defense began by questioning the Witness about his contact with the Finnish police. The Witness explained that a friend [FNM-248] had given his number to the police. The Defense wanted to know if this friend had another name, the Witness answered that he did not. The Defense asked the Witness if he knew [FNM-262]. Again, the Witness replied that he did not. The Defense then asked what [FNM-248] had said. The Witness replied that he had told him to come, that people wanted to talk to him. He said it was about four months ago and that he had seen his friend [FNM-248] before the interview because he had no idea who wanted to talk to him and it scared him a bit. The Defense then asked whether the Witness had been contacted by [Employee 1]. The Witness replied that he had not and that he did not know [Employee 1]. Then the Defense pointed out that in the police interview the Witness said he had been contacted by this person. The Witness explained that his friend [FNM-248] had given his number to [Employee 1] but that he had not seen him, and that it was his friend [FNM-248] who had brought him here. The Defense insisted that he had told the police that it was [Employee 1]. The Witness said that he did not understand, that it had taken time and that sometimes these things are forgotten.
The Defense then asked who [FNM-262] was, the name given by the Witness to the police. The Witness explained that the police must have made a mistake, that his friend was [FNM-248] not [FNM-262].
The Defense then played a recording of the interview in which the Witness said that [Employee 1] called him and mentioned [FNM-262].
The Witness stated that he had said [FNM-262], and that maybe he did not understand the Defense when he had asked him, as “you people talk fast”.
The Defense moved on to Angel Gabriel and the Agbah group. The Witness did not know when Angel Gabriel came from Sierra Leone with these soldiers, or where he took them. He said they were all at the bridge. The Witness explained that he knew this because he used to bring them food. He added that they were together on the bridge, with a car and a pick-up truck. The Defense asked the Witness if he could estimate the first and last time he saw Angel Gabriel and how often he saw him. The Witness replied that he usually saw him once a week, but he could not estimate for how many months.
The Defense then questioned the Witness about Salami. The Witness said that he died instantly after the mortar attack, as ‘his stomach was open’. They carried his body and put it in a pick-up truck. He did not know what happened to the bodies of the other soldiers who died in the attack. The Defense asked if Angel Gabriel was a general. The Witness did not know, but he knew he was an important man. The Defense pointed out that when the Prosecution asked him, the Witness described him as ‘a general that did not go to the frontline’; the Witness said he called others generals, such as Gray, Chaka, Salame. The Defense then asked if other people had asked him about it, besides the police. The Witness explained that other people had asked before, but had never had to answer such specific questions as he did now. The Defense asked the Witness who were the people or organizations that talked about it. The Witness said that these people were white but that he had forgotten which organization they were from. The Defense asked him if it was Save the Children, and the Witness said yes. He explained that they had asked him how he had experienced the war. He could not remember if black people had interviewed him. The Defense noted that the Witness had told the police that he had been interviewed by both white and black people about the war and the generals. The Witness replied that he could not remember these things, that it had been too long ago. The Defense then asked the Witness about a workshop organized by Save the Children in 2015, which he attended. The Witness said he was asked for ‘the name of the general and I gave them the name’.
The Defense played a recording of the interview with the police in which the Witness says they asked about the war but not about the generals.
The Witness said that he could not remember whether another organization, beyond Save the Children, had interviewed him. The Defense asked whether the Witness would give his consent for the police to have access to the notes and recordings of these interviews, if these had been documented in any way.
Judge intervened to clarify that the documents the police needed to seek were not documents that testified to any possible crimes the Witness committed, but the Save the Children notes: they just needed the Witness consent, and that any documents they might find would be shown to the Witness first. The Witness replied: ‘its left to you people to find’.
Witness Y7 is Heard
The Prosecution questions Witness Y7
The Prosecution began by asking the Witness whether he was in Monrovia during the wars. He replied that he went there in 1998 from Lofa, where the war was ongoing, right after the 1997 elections and that he left Monrovia two years ago. The war came to Monrovia in 2002/2003: at the time, he was living on the Pipeline Road with his mother, selling candles and matches to earn money. In 2002 the LURD rebels were advancing and one day he was accosted by some militia who took the money he had earned that day and when he told this to a person he knew [FNM-263] he advised the Witness that he should come to the 72nd with him. [FNM-262]was a general like Roland Duo or Massaquoi or Benjamin Yeaten and the Witness became a soldier assigned to him.
The first time he saw Massaquoi was when he drove [FNM-262] for a meeting on AB Tolbert road. He was waiting in the car and several generals came outside. The Witness was approached by Gibril Massaquoi who told him that he was Angel Gabriel, before the Witness knew his real name, and asked him if he was a soldier; the Witness confirmed.
The Witness proceeded by recalling when [FNM-262] told him that there would be a serious attack, after that they “went for the attack and came back”. On another day, somewhere in 2003, [FNM-262] asked the Witness to come to White Flower to pick up the food and carry it to his house. While there the Witness saw many generals such as Shere, Gibril Massaquoi, Roland Duo, Benjamin Yeaten. At this time the Witness heard that Roland Duo would be assigned to Stockton Creek, Gibril Massaquoi and his boys to Waterside, and Shere was going to hold New Bridge, while Yeaten was ‘the all over commander’.
On another occasion, as the rebels were advancing to Duala, Freeport area there was a battle between the rebels and Taylor’s forces for three days. The Witness accompanied [FNM-262], as he was seeking for Massaquoi’s advice, and went to Waterside, where Massaquoi was assigned, and had pushed the rebels back. When they arrived, Massaquoi was called by Yeaten to meet up in the street with the Slipway Depot. The Witness and [FNM-262] joined Massaquoi and there, many civilians had broken into a store and took pepper-mint, biscuits and other things. Yeaten had given orders to ‘James Massaquoi’ to kill anyone that had been looting, so ‘they opened fire, on the people, there were plenty people there’. At this point the Witness left the scene: [FNM-262] came looking for him and took him home. The Witness did not return to the front with [FNM-262] ‘because I had the fear in me’.
The Prosecutor returned to Witness’ earlier testimony about the big convoy where he first saw Massaquoi and asked to whose house did the members of the convoy go. The Witness replied that they went to [FNM-262]’s house on 72nd and then they went to 12 Houses on AB Tolbert road. The Witness confirmed that he first saw Massaquoi in the beginning of 2003 and saw him last at the end of 2003. In response to Prosecutor’s questions about the second time the Witness met Massaquoi he responded that Massaquoi said he was Angel Gabriel and that [FNM-262] explained it was his war name. Returning to the part of the testimony on Witness’ visit to White Flower to get food, where he saw other generals, the Prosecutor asked if he could remember when that was. The Witness could not remember the date but approximated that it was over a month after the first time he saw Massaquoi. In response to the question about how he knew that at this same meeting the generals were assigned the locations they were to defend, the Witness responded that the meeting was held inside White Flower and the generals were accompanied with the soldiers assigned to them.
When asked about the time period during which Charles Taylor’s forces fought the rebels in a series of battles, the Witness initially responded that he could not remember but when prompted he said that the first time the rebels attacked was WW1, the second time WW2 and then WW3 until they left. The Witness confirmed that he saw Massaquoi during WW3.
Returning to the incident at the store, when asked by the Prosecutor, the Witness confirmed that when Yeaten gave the order to Massaquoi to kill the looters, Massaquoi himself also opened fire. When asked how close was this shooting incident to the ceasefire, the Witness responded it was in the same year, 2003.
The Defense questions the Witness Y7
The Defense began by asking how the Witness came into contact with the Finnish police. He replied that he had received a phone call from [Employee 1] who asked the Witness to come by so they could talk, as the Witness had information on the war. He met [Employee 1] who told him that police from Finland wanted to clarify some issues about the war; he did not ask about the generals or Gibril Massaquoi or Angel Gabriel. After the meeting, the Witness did not talk to [Employee 1] until he received a text message informing him that the police would be in Liberia and that he should be in town.
When asked the Witness confirmed that he did not know that the police were interested in a specific person, and only knew during the interview that they were seeking information about Gibril Massaquoi. The Witness stated that [Employee 1] had not interviewed him, and that he talked with the police ‘less than 12 months ago’. The Defense questioned the Witness if [Employee 1] had asked any questions regarding his knowledge of names of generals and fighters, but the Witness reiterated that the police had asked him that. The Defense then said that the Witness had told the police that [Employee 1] had asked him if he knew about Gibril Massaquoi, but the Witness could not remember. The Defense asks to listen to the recording.
[In the recording, the police are heard enquiring if [Employee 1] had asked the Witness about Gibril Massaquoi: the Witness answered in the affirmative]
The Witness clarified that [Employee 1] called him to tell him he was needed in town, and that is when he asked him if he knew someone called Gibril Massaquoi, but they had not discussed it in person. The Defense asked if [Employee 1] had said Angel Gabriel, and the Witness explained that [Employee 1] had asked him if he knew of Gibril Massaquoi, and he responded that it was Angel Gabriel. The Defense then asked for a recording to be played, as he wanted to know how Angel Gabriel was introduced to the conversation.
[In the recording, the Witness is heard saying that he wanted to know he was a fighter, and he responded in the affirmative. [Employee 1] then asked about Gibril Massaquoi, known as Angel Gabriel]
The Defense then asked again whether or not the Witness knew who the interview had been about, and the Witness thought he had previously asked if it had been [Employee 1] who interviewed him. The Witness repeated that [Employee 1] asked him about Gibril Massaquoi, and he responded ‘do you mean Angel Gabriel’.
The Defense then asked whether the Witness fought in Duala when LURD was advancing. He explained that he was 16 years old when he joined the revolution in 1992 and at that time ECOMOG was in Duala. In response to follow up questions from the Defense, the Witness confirmed that he met Sam Bockarie when we went to 12 Houses – at the time, war was ‘coming from Duala’. When the Defense asked him what had happed to Sam Bockarie, the Witness responded that he had heard he had been killed in Nimba. He was sent to fight in Sacalpea, but he ‘wasn’t behind him to know his movement’. He did not know if Bockarie was assigned to a specific place in Monrovia to fight. When asked if he, himself, was fighting in 2003 the Witness replied that he had a gun, and was with [FNM-262] but that he was not fighting. The Defense mentioned that in the summary the Witness had mentioned that he was under a bridge ‘they were fighting, everybody was tired, the government troops and the rebels’, but the Witness said that the prosecution had told him he did not have to talk about himself, or what he had done.
The Defense finished the questioning by asking for how long did the Witness see Massaquoi and he replied saw him four months and that he did not see him again, not even after the war.
The Prosecution questions the Witness Again
The Prosecutor repeated the Defense’s question on whether the Witness was sure that he saw Angel Gabriel fire at the store and the Witness confirmed. The Prosecution returned to Defense’s questioning about the Witness’ knowledge of the topic of the interview beforehand. The Witness repeated that [Employee 1] asked if he knew Gibril Massaquoi and he said he knew him as Angel Gabriel and then he was aware that the interview would be about the generals. The Prosecution asked the Witness if he asked the police what the interview was about. The Witness responded that he remembered asking them at the beginning of the interview and they responded that Massaquoi was arrested. The Prosecution added that according to that interview summary this happened at the end – the Witness said that sometimes people can forget.
The Defense Questions the Witness Again
The Witness confirmed that everything he discussed with the police was recorded aside from the courtesy greetings and instructions about the interview procedure. Finally, the Defense told the Witness that despite the fact that he had said that Gibril Massaquoi had shot himself at the store, it was not on the recording. When the recording was played, it confirmed that the Witness had not mentioned that.