The 55th day of public hearings resumed on Friday, 8th October in Monrovia, Liberia.
Prosecution Witness L5 is Heard
The Defense questions witness L5
The witness had written and published an article during his time in Sierra Leone about a massacre in Kamata Golahun, which was displayed for the court.
The Witness explained that in 2000 or 2001, when he was working as an Information Officer at the University of Liberia, the Minister of Defense, Daniel Chea, declared that people from his home district, Kamata Golahun, were “the kinsmen on the rebels.” The Witness responded to his remark in an article in a newspaper called the Inquirer, after which he heard that the defense minister ordered that he be summoned to his office. The Witness fled to Kenema in Sierra Leone.
In Kenema, he encountered people who were escaping from his district. He moved to a town close to the border with Liberia, Weadu and spent a month trying to understand why people were fleeing his district. He visited other villages along the border and spoke to many people who had crossed it and were fleeing. He did not know any of them from before.
From the people he interviewed he learned that a group headed by Zigzag Marzah murdered a large group of people in Kamata Golahun by forcing people into a house which they then set on fire. While Zigzag Marzah’s name came up most frequently, Mosquito was also mentioned. The Witness spoke to a young man whose mother and father were killed in that house.
During his interviews with women, boys and men he heard about other incidents, all of which he documented in a brochure which has since burned in a fire in his house. However, he had provided a copy to the UN in Freetown. He recalled that an incident in Yamatahun particularly disturbed him; he was told that a baby was placed in a mortar and pounded to make a dish.
The people he interviewed indicated that NPFL and LURD operated in the area. The RUF was not mentioned although the Witness knows they were also present there. He had been told that RUF and NPFL were on the same side, although RUF was based in Foya which was not close to Kamata Golahun.
The Witness could not remember how many refugees he interviewed, nor in which month he interviewed them, nor when he subsequently wrote an article for the newspaper in which he mentioned Zigzag Marzah and others, whose names he could not recall. The original copy of this article was with [FNM-226] at Human Rights Watch.
In the article the Witness named 28 victims as was told to him by [FNM-325], a man who was forced to join the NPFL. [FNM-325] subsequently went to Kamatahun with his parents, who were killed but he managed to escape to Sierra Leone and met the Witness.
The Witness had written notes of the interviews he conducted but they were also lost in the fire. The Witness confirmed that the people he had interviewed did not mention anyone by the name of Massaquoi nor Angel Gabriel. He repeated that two main persons who featured in his article were Zigzag Marzah and Mosquito. The Witness said that the only person who could obtain the copy of his dossier from the UN is [FNM-226].
The Witness knew [FNM-326] from Sierra Leone and confirmed that he tried to get in touch with him and that he might have a copy of the dossier.
The Witness first learned of the person Gibril Massaquoi following his indictment.
The Prosecution questions witness L5
The Witness said that he escaped to Sierra Leone sometime in 2001 to 2002 through Bo Waterside with a truck but could not specify the time of the year.
He clarified that he did not have the copy of the Inquirer article. The witness said that the Inquirer was a Liberian newspaper in which the Witness commented on the defense minister’s statement. Thereafter, the Witness learned that defense minister requested that he be tracked down and brought to his office, and about a week later he escaped. It took him two days to reach Kenema.
After the Witness arrived in Kenema it took him about two weeks to conduct his first interview. The witness had told the Finnish Police that he interviewed 75 people in total, but in trial the witness said that 75 was the number of people who were killed in Kamata Golahun. After being presented with the summary of his statement, the witness said he couldn’t remember the total number of interviews, but it was about 75.
The witness said that in the interviews, many people mentioned the massacre at Kamata Golahun. In the article, however, the Witness quoted one man, [FNM-325], who provided the names of the victims because he lost his parents in the incident. The other people that the witness interviewed were not able to give him names of those who had died. The Witness clarified that when people spoke about Kamata Golahun they referred Kamata Golahun Hassala, as opposed to Kamata Golahun Tahun.
The Witness clarified that the persons he interviewed did not necessarily come from Kamata Golahun Hassala. Some came from Kiahum and other villages. The witness explained that Kamata Golahun Hassala is on the Liberian and Sierra Leonean border area, so some people were passing through the area. The people who were passing through saw bodies in the burned house and met victims.
The Witness explained that the reason why [FNM-226] has the dossier is because the Witness interacted with Human Rights Watch in Sierra Leone. The last time he spoke to [FNM-226] was two months prior. [FNM-226] called the Witness to ask whether he knew Gibril Massaquoi to which he responded that he did not. After that she did not get into further details. The Witness did not know why she was asking but thought it was because of the trial.
Returning to his escape to Sierra Leone in 2001 or 2002, the Witness explained that he started his journey in Monrovia and crossed through Bo Waterside in a truck.
The Defense questions witness L5
The Witness was born in Lofa and after the war he first returned in 2004. The witness said he had returned several times since 2004. During these visits the Witness confirmed that some people told him how people were killed during the war and that someone called [FNM-161] was mentioned as one person responsible for the killings.