The 57th day of public hearings resumed on Wednesday, 17th November in Finland.
The Defendant, Gibril Massaquoi, is Heard
Initially, confidential evidence was examined in closed session after which the judge invited the parties to discuss the defense’s expert witness statement from Ilmari Käihkö.
The Prosecution said that the defense did not provide them with the expert witness statement and the Defense responded that there was no obligation to inform the Prosecution of the evidence they planned to introduce.
The Defense explained that he emailed Käihkö on the 23rd and 28th of August inquiring whether, in 2003, a government motorcade could have driven between Monrovia and Sierra Leone. Käihkö had interviewed a commander on this issue and opined that it would have been unlikely unless it was in April or May 2003 when Monrovia was controlled by the government troops. The Defense referred to the Prosecution’s exhibits 3, 4 and 7.
The Prosecution said that the part of the expert witness statement relating to the control of Waterside from mid-April until June 2003 ought to be disregarded. Käihkö was an expert witness, and this statement was a continuation of his previous expert witness testimony. According to the law, an expert witness statement must be made from the expert’s own knowledge. In this situation the expert witness relied on information provided by a third party, the commander he interviewed, to draw a conclusion. Accordingly, the Prosecution should have the opportunity to question the same third party if this part of the expert witness statement was to be included in the record. The reliability of the person that Käihkö interviewed was inconsequential.
The Defense said that the expert witness’ knowledge was based on his research and any concerns about his testimony could be addressed when he testifies again.
The Prosecution asked whether the Defense had asked the expert about a motorcade. The Defense responded that, in respect to Waterside, he had not. The Defense explained that a witness had said that commanders had come to Waterside to pick up Massaquoi, and he was trying to understand whether that was possible in practice.
Gibril Massaquoi is Heard
The Defense questions the Defendant Gibril Massaquoi
The Defense explained to the Defendant that he needed to be heard again because many witnesses had testified in the meantime and the charge against him had been expanded.
The Defendant confirmed that he did not call himself nor was he called Gabriel Massaquoi, Wilson Angel nor Angel Wilson. He proceeded to explain the inconsistency about his wedding date. The Defendant said he was married on Friday, 26 July 2002. Earlier that day, the parties had discussed a document before the court according to which the Defendant stated in 2007 that his wedding date was in October 2001. The Defendant explained that this document is the Finnish Immigration Services form that he did not fill in personally and he only discovered this date when he had to renew his residence permit. This date of October 2001 was inserted by the person from the witness interviewing department in Sierra Leone and was then sent on to the Finnish Embassy in Nigeria. 26 October 2001 is the date when he was engaged to [FNM-192] and they married in the summer of 2002. The Finnish Immigration Services noted the date of marriage as 00/00/2002 as he could not recall the exact date because he did not have his notepad with important dates on him when he was providing the information.
Before he was married, the Defendant lived in East Freetown, and he was there until the SCSL took him into the safe house. His cooperation with the SCSL started mid-2002 after he met with [FNM-226] who said he could assist on some matters. The Defendant knew her from before. They first met in Makeni in 2001 and then in Freetown several times. In addition to the protection agreement with the SCSL, the Defendant made no additional public nor secret agreements with [FNM-201] but only heard about it from a statement to the police.
The Defendant first went to the safe house on 10 March 2003 and before he moved to the safe house with his family he had been arrested, together with some other people. The Defendant stated that he does not want to discuss the arrest with the audience present in the courtroom because the most recent document his attorney submitted to the court is classified.
The Defendant didn’t know the location of the safe house, but the security guard told him the address was Seven Pipeline. Between March and August 2003 there were three security guards including [FNM-328], and two more joined later. At the time when they moved to the safe house the Defendant did not know any of them, but they became closer thereafter. The Defendant said he did not give them any benefits during their service. The Defendant confirmed he saw the pictures displayed to the court when it held sessions in Monrovia and that those were the pictures of the first safe house that was surrounded by a fence with barbed wire on it.
While in the safehouse in 2003 the Defendant insisted that he never left the safe house alone because there was a fence around it and there was only one gate which was guarded. The guards used to come to check on the family and return to the gate. The Defendant did not leave the safe house for his own safety. The Defendant clarified that the witness who testified that she met him in 2003 was in fact the commander in chief of his village community and that they actually met one and a half months before he went to the safe house. While in the safe house in 2003 the Defendant did not meet anyone outside the safe house except for the SCSL workers who either came to him or sent security guards to bring him to the SCSL, which happened multiple times. Also, [FNM-201] and another person from SCSL visited the safe house.
The Defendant’s visits to the SCSL were organized by the SCSL. He would first receive a phone call by the personnel and inform him that he would shortly be picked up so he can be ready when they came. This happened multiple times during spring and summer. It never occurred that the Defendant was requested for such meetings, and he was not available. The Defendant explained that he did not travel outside of Freetown in 2003, to Liberia or to any other country. He was taken out to a beach, but not in 2003, where he had drinks because he complained that he was always in the same place.
The time he left Freetown while living in the safe house was in 2005 when his daughter died in Bo, where she was living with her grandmother. He went there for a day with the SCSL security and returned.
The Defendant confirmed that he could not have left the safe house without the security guards noticing because they checked on the family every two hours. Had they noticed he was missing they would have informed the Prosecutor’s office, but this never happened. Also, when the security guards changed shifts twice a day they checked the presence of all family members and recorded it on a document.
Regarding their finances, for the first two months the SCSL did not let his wife go out shopping, but they bought and delivered food to the house. [FNM-304] brought in the food and cooked together with the Defendant’s wife. [FNM-304] would show the Defendant the receipts for the shopping which he, in turn would sign, and she would submit to the office. After that, the Defendant’s wife went shopping accompanied by security guards. Until he moved to Finland, they received money weekly, which he exclusively signed for.
Concerning the attack on the safe house, the Defense said other witnesses had suggested it might have been staged or organized, and the Defendant recalled that it happened at the end of July 2005. Both he and the security guard provided a report to the SCSL. Neither the attacker nor the guard were armed then. He dismissed the claim in the Prosecution’s witness statement that he organized it with his brother as a middleman. The security measures were enhanced after the attack. When the attack happened the security guard informed the Defendant that one of the glass doors was broken and there were two men with knives. The Defendant and the guard moved the kitchen table to the fence and carried the children across.
The Defendant said that he knew Sam Bockarie from the RUF and that the last time he saw him alive was during the AFRC in 1997 and immediately thereafter he was arrested and convicted. The Defendant described their relationship as neither friendly or hostile but stated that from 1994 he had had problems with him and that Sam Bockarie tried to kill him. The Defense said Bockarie died on May 6, 2003. The Defendant saw pictures of Sam Bockarie’s dead body sometime in May 2003 while in the safe house.
Concerning previous statements that Sam Bockarie had led troops in the Ivory Coast in 2003 or 2004, the Defendant asserted that there was a rebel attack in the Ivory Coast but he did not know if Sam Bockarie led those troops and that he had never been with them. The Defendant also refuted that he was Sam Bockarie’s deputy.
The Defense addressed prior testimony that Sam Bockarie went to Liberia from Sierra Leone with the Defendant. The Defendant explained that following Sam Bockarie’s disagreement with the RUF leader in December 1999, RUF troops were sent after Bockarie, which is when he crossed to Liberia and did not return to Sierra Leone because he feared for his life.
The Defendant said he did not know a place called Twelve Houses in Monrovia and that he had not been there with Sam Bockarie. He did not visit Liberia anytime after seeing Sam Bockarie’s dead body on a computer screen. He heard from someone that Sam Bockarie died in Liberia.
The Defense asked whether the Defendant had a base in Tailahum, and the Defendant said that no, in 2002 he was in Freetown. He also maintained that he did not own a truck between 2001 and 2003. He knew that there were departments within the RUF that did but only until December 2001, when the RUF was disarmed and ceased to exist. The Defendant rejected that he was ever involved in transportation of goods. He also denied having taken part in any war related activities in Liberia between 1999 and 2003. He said he had never heard of a unit called Agbah during his time in the RUF but knew that Liberians used this term.
Finally, the Defendant confirmed that the names of the persons imprisoned by the SCSL were published in the media. The SCSL held a press conference and publicized the names of those arrested and indicted. The Defendant’s name was not mentioned by the SCSL, but a different media source reported that he was arrested.
The Defendant dismissed the notion from the Prosecution and some witness testimonies that he may have left Monrovia to go to fight in Liberia. He said nobody in their right mind would do so.
The Prosecution questions the Defendant Gibril Massaquoi
The Prosecution returned to Massaquoi’s wedding date. The Prosecution asked if his wife had known the correct date the whole time, and the Defendant responded that he didn’t know, and that they visited the Finnish Immigration Service at different times. The Prosecution said that according to his notes, Massaquoi had said April or May 2002 but the Defendant insisted he had always said that it was summer, but he couldn’t recall the exact date.
The Defendant repeated that the last time he saw Bockarie was in 1997. The Prosecution displayed an excerpt of the Defendant’s interview with the SCSL on the 20th of February 2003. The Prosecution said that in the interview, the Defendant told the SCSL that he met Sam Bockarie at Taylor’s in 2001. The Defendant said that he did not see Bockarie in Liberia in 2001 but he knew that he was in Liberia. The person from the SCSL taking notes on his 2003 interview may have been referring to the Defendant mentioning Bockarie in the context of saying that Bockarie might have returned to the RUF. The Prosecution asserted that this should be considered when evaluating the Defendant’s testimony.
The Prosecution moved to a later section of Massaquoi’s interview and established that Sam Bockarie was moved somewhere.
Then the Prosecution moved to another section of the interview which concerned Sam Bockarie’s departure from the RUF after leaders turned against him. According to the interview, there was a meeting with Bockarie in 2001. Massaquoi explained that in that meeting, the RUF leaders were trying to convince him to return, but they didn’t agree and then they broke off contact. Massaquoi said that he didn’t know why Sam Bockarie was wanted out of the country, he had only heard that Taylor was pressured.
The Prosecution introduced another display of a document from 3rd December 2002. In those notes, Massaquoi had said that communication between the RUF and Bockarie continued when he was in Liberia. The Defendant said he did not know why they would talk but knew that Bockarie took people with him. RUF leaders may have continued talking with Bockarie despite the RUF cutting ties with him because while the RUF was an organization and didn’t affect private people.
The Defendant said that he joined the RUF’s external delegation in 1996 and was appointed its leader towards the end of 2000 in a RUF meeting because he was an involved member and had experience. Other RUF leaders were appointed in the same way. It was disbanded at the conclusion of the peace process in Sierra Leone in either 2001 or 2002. The Defendant said he was not removed from the external delegation before it was disbanded. However, the Prosecutor displayed a transcript to the court in which Massaquoi stated that he was removed from the delegation in November 2000. The Defendant explained that he was removed from the lead, but he was still a member. The Prosecution stated that the delegation was based in Monrovia, Massaquoi lived there, and another witness had testified to living in the same house as Massaquoi and in opposite rooms. The witness had also said that Massaquoi did not travel back to Sierra Leone during that time. The same witness said that Massaquoi did not meet Charles Taylor as a member of the delegation. The Defendant responded that he had met the witness and maybe the witness did not remember correctly.
The Defendant confirmed that he passed through the Lofa area in Liberia in 2000. The Defendant said he was not aware of Charles Taylor delivering weapons and ammunition to the RUF when he was in the area in 2000. The Defendant said the RUF was in the peace process then. The Prosecution displayed a document which he explained were the Defendant’s notes that he delivered to the SCSL and asked the Defendant about the ammunition mentioned in the notes. The Defendant responded that some people, potentially from the delegation, took them forward and that he didn’t participate in the delivery. The Defendant held that he did not deliver ammunition. The Prosecution displayed another page on which Massaquoi had written that he delivered weapons, and the Defendant responded that he did not deliver weapons, but he was on a vehicle with [FNM- 204] that did deliver weapons. The Defendant explained that he had written that he “was instructed to receive” them because he needed a ride and had to wait for ammunition to arrive. The Prosecution pointed out that the Defendant had written that he had ridden in a helicopter with ammunition, and the Defendant confirmed that he had traveled to Sierra Leone on a helicopter with ammunition in it in late 2000 or early 2001.
The Prosecution asked about traveling to Monrovia from Sierra Leone with the delegation. The Defendant said he had ammunition with him because armed men were watching him but had to give it up in Lofa before arriving in Monrovia, which was possibly in 2000.
The Defendant said that soldiers and weapons were sent from Sierra Leone to Liberia at Sesay’s command before the RUF was capable of the peace process. The soldiers went back and forth. The Prosecution asked if the soldiers went to clear the way to Liberia. The Defendant responded that he wasn’t there, but he knew that the RUF went to help the Liberian government troops.
The Defendant said that after 1992 he didn’t go to Liberia before the peace process. Troops went there to fight to help the government troops in 1999. The Defendant didn’t know if [Witness 7] left in October 2000. Issa Sesay could have already been there in October 2000 because the first delegation went earlier to release the UN peacekeepers that were being held hostage. The Defendant didn’t know if the RUF always went to fight in Liberia when Charles Taylor needed them because he didn’t control the troops. He had described troops going to fight when they were needed in an earlier interview transcript. The Prosecution asked about the RUF’s efforts to clear the road into Liberia. The Defendant said he didn’t know, and that troops that were there after 2001 could have been serving to secure the place. He did not know the intentions of the RUF troops who stayed in Liberia after the mission but he knew they went to Guinea after the LURD attacked.
The Prosecution referred to a 2003 transcript in which Massaquoi said that the troops that were sent to Liberia were intented to go to Guinea and attack there in February or March 2001. The Defendant responded that he was in Liberia in June and saw troops but did not know when they left for Sierra Leone’s disarmament. In February or March of 2001, the Defendant said he visited Liberia and went back. He met [Witness 7] in Liberia on his way to the peace process. The Defendant said he traveled to meet [Witness 7] by road but the Prosecution said that he had told the SCSL that he had travelled to Voinjama by helicopter, when he met [witness 7]. The Defendant said he probably met [Witness 7] more than once on his mission. [FNM-205] was an RUF assistant but didn’t participate in negotiations. The Prosecution referred to prior testimony in which the Defendant said that [FNM-205] was a delegation member. The Defendant said that yes, [FNM-205] was a delegation member but he didn’t participate. The Prosecution asked if his main task was a diamond trade. The Defendant said that the job description of the RUF delegation was not diamond trading. The Defendant had met with [FNM-205] in Monrovia in 2001 but could not recall when.
The Prosecution asked about weapons traveling from Sierra Leone to Liberia. The Defendant said he knew about that and had informed the UN that it was bad. The arms were being transported to Liberia because there was an embargo on weapons. The Prosecution suggested that this happened so that the UN would not get them during disarmament.
The Defendant said that when the RUF fought in Liberia, the Liberian government supplied them with arms so they could fight. The Prosecution asked how this was compatible with the idea that the RUF were in Liberia for safety and the Defendant answered that he and the delegation were there for peace, and he reported things to the UN if they threatened permanent peace.
The Court decided to continue the Defendant’s questioning the following day.