The 48th day of public hearings resumed on Wednesday, 22th September in Monrovia, Liberia.
Witness Z1 is Heard
The Prosecution questions Witness Z1
The Prosecution began by asking the witness when he came to Liberia. The witness said he was born in Sierra Leone and was a driver for the commanders in Sierra Leone. He came to Vahun, Liberia at the beginning of 2002, when one of his women had just given birth. He accompanied a friend of his – [FNM-250] – to Liberia who drove trucks and was asked by his commander, Gibril Massaquoi, to go there, along with four others. Once in Vahun they were welcomed by the Commander 50 and continued to Monrovia.
In Monrovia, the witness said they were housed in Congo Town in a house painted green, white and blue, before moving to 12 Houses where they parked the trucks and stayed for between one and two months. When Commander 50 said he needed the trucks [FNM-250] refused. The witness explained that reasoned with his friend and after he showed the truck to the bodyguards of Commander 50 they ordered him to drive the truck to the Ivory Coast border in order to sell the truck, which eventually did not take place. The witness was then assigned to another commander – named [FNM-266].
When the Prosecution asked whether the Witness knew who Gibril Massaquoi was, he replied that he did not know him, that he had seen him but had not had closer contact with him. The witness said he did not know whether Massaquoi was Liberian or Sierra Leonean. He then said that he had seen him in 2003 in White Flower when Massaquoi asked [FNM-250] to come and the Witness accompanied him. [FNM-250] had a meeting with Commander 50 and Massaquoi. This was the only time the witness saw Massaquoi in Monrovia.
The Defense questions Witness Z1
The Defense asked the witness how the Finnish police were able to contact him. The witness began by saying that he was a wanted man, and that he even drove Sam Bockarie. The Defense repeated the question about the contact with the Finnish police. The witness said that he was questioned in May this year.
The witness explained that the Finnish police knew that he was a former RUF member and Sam Bockarie’s driver. A DEA officer – [Employee 3] – who once saved the Witness’ life had told him that the Finnish police were looking for him. The defense wanted to know more about [Employee 3]. The witness said he was still working for the DEA and had called the witness as they knew each other because they lived together in Elwa, Liberia – where the LRA was – in May 2000. At that time, the Witness, [FNM-250] and [Employee 3] were together.
The Defense pointed out that the Witness had told the police that in 2000 he was living in Monrovia. The witness replied that he came to Monrovia in 2002 and that in 2000 he was living in Kono, Sierra Leone. The Defense countered that he had just said that in 2000 he was living with [Employee 3]. The witness corrected that he in fact meant that he came to Liberia in 2002 and initially he lived with [FNM-250] and [Employee 3] lived close by. In June 2002, the Witness lived with [Employee 3] but following problems with Sam Bockarie’s wife he moved out. The witness said he lived at 12 Houses, around Elwa Junction.
The Defense then played an excerpt from the police interview in which the witness said he lived in Elwa. The Defense asked the witness if he wanted to comment on this. The witness reiterated that in the interview they had talked about 2002, when he came to Liberia.
The Defense then asked the witness about Gibril Massaquoi. The witness said that FNM-250 was his bodyguard and described Massaquoi as robust, strong and of medium height.
When asked about the visit to the White Flower house the witness repeated that the man who left the house with [FNM-250] was Massaquoi, as he was told by [FNM-250]. Regarding the truck the Witness was ordered to drive to the Ivorian border, he said the place he was ordered to drop it to was called Yekepa. The Defense reminded the witness that he told the police that he drove the truck to the Guinean border. The witness replied that he was not from the area and that they took him to two borders.
The Defense asked which commanders the witness met at Vahun. The witness mentioned Commander 50, Zigzag Marzah, [FNM-262] and Mosquito. Commander 50 was the highest ranking. He did not know what their assignment was in the area. He stated that he did not meet any other commanders in Vahun. However, the witness said he met Isa in Kumbo on the road to Monrovia. He then stated, upon request from the Defense, that he only went to the Lofa area once before going to Monrovia.
The Defense asked whether the Witness knew if the attitudes of Liberian soldiers changed towards RUF soldiers. He replied in the negative. When the Defense asked if anyone gave orders to kill all RUF members, the Witness said yes, and on the day Sam Bockarie died, they started to look for me because he was Sierra Leonean. When asked for the date of Sam Bockarie’s death the witness said he could not remember and attributed this to his lack of schooling. The Defense then wanted to know who lived with them in the green and white house at Elwa junction in Monrovia. The witness said that some girls were living with them but that he did not know them. The Witness said he did not know where Massaquoi’s wife and sister were living at the time. The Defense asked if the witness remembered that he had told the police that he had seen the house they lived in. The Witness said that he and [FNM-250] sometimes went to Old Road and saw women but that he never lived in that house. The Defense asked the witness whether he said in his police interview that Massaquoi and his sister lived in a house with green, white and blue colours. The witness corrected that the colorful house was the first house he lived in when he arrived in Monrovia, before moving to 12 Houses.
The Defense played an excerpt from the recording where the witness said Massaquoi’s wife lived in a green, blue and white house.
The Prosecution asks further questions
The Prosecution told the witness that in his police interview he had described Massaquoi as the ‘boss man’ from Sierra Leone. The witness recalled that [FNM-250] had said that the ‘boss man’ wanted to see [FNM-250] and that they should go together to White Flower. The Prosecution asked the witness if he knew that Massaquoi was a member of the RUF. The witness explained that [FNM-250] had told him that Massaquoi was the spokesperson.
The Defense asks further questions
The Defense asked when the witness learned that Massaquoi was the spokesperson. The witness said that he did not know until [FNM-250] told him. The Defense asked whether the witness told the Finnish police that Massaquoi was the spokesperson. He said he did not and added that he had only indicated that Massaquoi had sent them to Monrovia.
The Defense asked the witness if anyone told him or if he assumed that he would receive help or assistance if he testified in the trial. The Witness replied no, but that [FNM-250] told him that his travel costs would be refunded.
Continuation of Witness X5 (Day 47)
The Defense questions the Witness
The Defense went back to what the witness had said the day before. The Defense asked the witness when he was in Lofa. The witness replied that he was in Lofa from the end of 1998 and that he stayed for four or five years. While there, the first commander – General Long Soldier – died. After his death, Charles Taylor was looking for a replacement and the Witness was chosen. He started under the command of [FNM-261] and the First Brigade Jungle Scorpion. Then the Witness was appointed Battlefield Commander. Shortly afterwards, Charles Taylor called Skinny, [FNM-262] and Mosquito to town and then appointed Witness to the position. The witness explained that he was based in Foya Tangia.
The Defense asked if the RUF came to Lofa. The Witness said yes, that Foday Sankoh, Sam Bockarie and Mosquito came to Lofa while the Witness was there. He stated that he collaborated with the RUF. The witness also mentioned [FNM-263], who was the deputy to Sam Bockarie when the RUF landed. The RUF were in Konia, Babahun, Kolahun, Yandohun and around Vahun. The witness explained that he had collaborated with the RUF from the beginning. When they arrived the war against the rebels was not going well. The witness said that he went daily to their headquarters to show them different places in Lofa because they were not familiar with the area.
The witness stated that he was in communication with the Sierra Leoneans throughout the five years he spent in Lofa.
The Defense asked whether other fighters came from Sierra Leone afterwards. The witness explained that every time a commander died, another commander came from Sierra Leona to replace him. The Defense then referred to a summary of the witness’s interview with the Finnish police. This summary lists names mentioned by the witness. The Defense asked the witness if he remembered the names he mentioned. The witness explained that he had worked with a lot of people and could therefore mention many names. The Defense read the summary and mentioned the names of Sam Bockarie, [FNM-263] and [FNM-109]. She asked if the witness could mention any other names. The witness recalled that after [FNM-109] left for Monrovia, Salami arrived. He said the highest ranking officer was Sam Bockarie and that Sankoh acted more as an advisor to Sam Bockarie who was the field commander. Directly under Sam Bockarie were [FNM-263], [FNM-109], Salami and Superman. The witness said that he had worked with all of them, that they had fought together, crossed the Sierra Leonean border together and had come back.
The Defense then asked whether in the period 2002-2003 there were any attacks on civilians. The witness replied that there were not, that there may have been a crossfire, but not an attack as such. The Defense again referred to the summary of the Witness’ police interview which states that when the LURD first attacked Vahun, the Sierra Leoneans became frightened and sought advice from the witness. The witness told them to leave Vahun and attack from Babahun. The leaders of the RUF troops at the time were Sam Bockarie and Corporal Sankoh. The Defense asked the witness if he knew someone called Zigzag Marzah. The witness said he did and that he knew of many things he did in Lofa. The witness explained that Zigzag Marzah was the head of the Marine Division and that Charles Taylor used him for KGB operations. This was a special combat group that was called in when the fighting intensified. The witness said that their slogan was ‘maximum death and destruction in minimum time’. He gave the example of the capture of Kolahun. They had suffered three setbacks in their three attempts to take Kolahun. The Marines were therefore sent in. The witness explained that the Marines had cannibalistic practices. The Defense asked the witness if he could name anyone who belonged to this group. He mentioned [FNM-267], [FNM-268], [FNM-269], [FNM-270], [FNM-271], and [FNM-272]. Referring to the Defense’s question about attacks on civilians, the witness explained that if the Marines heard that any villagers had collaborated with the rebels, then no villager would be spared. He said that such an incident had taken place in Vahun.
The witness said that he was part of that mission but that he was a member of the navy division, not the marine division. The leader of Jungle Fire was Benjamin Yeaten.
The Defense then asked if the witness noticed any delegations going back and forth between Lofa and Monrovia in 1998. The witness replied that there were many, including the Red Cross that came from Sierra Leone. As for the RUF, they did not use the Bo Water road but came to Lofa with Jeeps. The witness explained that they had first stopped in Lofa before they could reach Monrovia.
The Defense then raised the issue of arms. The witness explained that Charles Taylor was supplying arms and ammunition to the RUF. He said that the arms came from Monrovia and that Benjamin Yeaten himself was in charge of the delivery. He delivered the weapons to Lofa himself. The supply chain started in Côte d’Ivoire. The weapons were then transported by Jeeps. The Defense wanted to know who accompanied Benjamin Yeaten on the deliveries. The witness said that at the time – in 2000 – Sam Bockarie lived in Monrovia on Smythe Road. Sam Bockarie therefore accompanied Benjamin Yeaten on the arms deliveries because he knew where the RUF soldiers were. The witness indicated that in addition to Sam Bockarie, Benjamin Yeaten always travelled with soldiers as he had thousands of men.
The witness also indicated that he was stationed in Voinjama. The Defence asked whether the RUF was also in Voinjama in 2002-2003. The witness said that such group distinctions were no longer valid, as the groups had merged. Jungle Fire was the name for the group of Liberian and Sierra Leonean soldiers. Among the commanders, the witness cited [FNM-267], [FNM-268], and [FNM-269]. The Marines controlled the territory.
The Defense asked the witness about Corporal Sankoh. The witness again explained that Sankoh acted as an advisor to Sam Bockarie and the soldiers from Sierra Leone. The Defense asked if he knew his first name and the witness replied that he was simply known as ‘Corporal Sankoh’. In Sierra Leone Sankoh was the commander – a ‘Kamajor’ – but he was not as active in Liberia. The Defense asked if the name Foday Sankoh meant anything to the witness, who confirmed that it was the full name of Corporal Sankoh. When asked what happened to Corporal Sankoh, the witness said he learned that he had returned to Sierra Leone before he was arrested and tried. He estimated that this happened in late 2004.
The Defense questioned the witness about his police interview, specifically what he said about Sankoh’s death. The witness said he knew Corporal Sankoh had died in prison but could not remember what he had told the police. The Defense then read out what the witness had said: ‘one night Sam Bockarie was called, a Corporal died in an ambush in Lofa’. The witness explained that this was a version of Sankoh’s death told to the Sierra Leonean soldiers, because a death from an ambush sounded better than a death in prison. The Defense then asked why he had given this version to the Finnish police. The witness put it down to the fact that he was confused by the presence of the Finnish police, whom he was seeing for the first time. He said he had not wanted to go into too much detail. The Defense asked him if he had lied to the police about Sankoh’s death. The witness said he wanted to know the truth.
The Defense then turned to the mission in the Ivory Coast. The witness said he fought in the Ivory Coast with Sam Bockarie. He was there for two or three months in 2002. He was ordered to deliver ammunition to Sam Bockarie from Monrovia to the Ivory Coast. The witness was in Bomi County at the time and flew to Monrovia by helicopter. The witness said that when he was stationed in Lofa he often went to Monrovia on Charles Taylor’s orders. Sometimes he used the helicopter, sometimes the vehicle. He also said that on several occasions he took RUF soldiers with him to and from Monrovia and acted as their guide. The RUF soldiers he took with him were Sierra Leoneans who had come to help them fight.
Regarding the mission in Côte d’Ivoire, the witness explained that at the time they were short of ammunition. Sam Bockarie had taken control of the town of Man and called Taylor to tell him that he had ammunition in the Ivory Coast. Taylor then contacted the logistics officer, [FNM-264]. The witness said that [FNM-264] could not go alone so he asked the witness to accompany him. Once in the Ivory Coast, Sam Bockarie asked the witness to stay, which upset [FNM-264]. The witness described coming and going from the Ivory Coast. The witness said that later, fighters in Lofa heard that war had started in the Ivory coast and went there to look for money.
The Defense then asked the witness about his encounters with Massaquoi. The witness replied that he had met Massaquoi in the Ivory Coast and that he was nicknamed the Archangel. He also said that Massaquoi had come from Burkina Faso and that it was 2002. The Defense asked for more details and the witness explained that he had been in Côte d’Ivoire for almost a month when he met Massaquoi. Sam Bockarie had told the witness that one of his commanding officers was coming and that he should be picked up at the Burkina Faso border. This was the first time the witness saw Massaquoi. He said he knew this because Sam Bockarie used to tell him everything, especially about the guests. The Defense believed that this episode must have taken place in January. The witness explained that they did not keep track of months, they were just out in the bush fighting and so he could not pinpoint a month. However, the witness was with Massaquoi until he left for Liberia about two months later. Massaquoi had been introduced to the witness as the special assistant to Sam Bockarie who was the chief of staff.
The Defense asked whether Massaquoi was responsible for a geographical area in Côte d’Ivoire. The witness replied that they had talked about Man. When asked about their departure from Côte d’Ivoire, the witness explained that he and Massaquoi had stopped in Nimba. They used to cross the border every day to Ganta until the border closed. The Defense asked if Massaquoi had stayed in Côte d’Ivoire when the witness last left the country. The witness replied that he did not. The Defense read an excerpt from the police interview and asked the witness to clarify. In the excerpt, the witness states that Sam Bockarie instructed Massaquoi to stay in the Ivory Coast and put him in charge there. The witness explained the development of events. They were in Ivory Coast when Ganta fell to the rebels. Sam Bockarie had got hold of 150 anti-aircraft artillery in Man. Taylor asked Sam Bockarie to take over Ganta. Once he took over Ganta, Sam Bockarie asked to return to Sierra Leone. Charles Taylor sent Benjamin Yeaten to put things back under control and this is how Massaquoi became active in Sam Bockarie’s duties. According to the witness, Benjamin Yeaten asked Sam Bockarie to take a walk with him in Nimba County and stabbed him in the back. The Defense again asked whether Massaquoi remained in the Ivory Coast after the witness left. The witness replied that yes, Massaquoi remained in charge. He said Massaquoi stayed in the Ivory Coast until Sam Bockarie died. He returned directly to Liberia and became chief of staff.
The Defense asked the witness if he could estimate the time between Sam Bockarie’s death and Massaquoi’s return to Liberia. The witness said it took a week and that Massaquoi returned in a vehicle and by road. He was driven by the Executive Mansion Protection team and the witness was there to greet him on arrival.
The Defense then asked the witness about Sam Bockarie’s death. The witness replied that Sam Bockarie died because he wanted to return to Sierra Leone. The witness explained that Sam Bockarie had ammunition and thought he could use it successfully in Sierra Leone. Sam Bockarie asked Taylor to help him return to Sierra Leone, which the witness said proved that Sam Bockarie was in Liberia. Taylor ordered Benjamin Yeaten to go to Nimba County. Yeaten explained to Sam Bockarie that Taylor demanded that they have a closed-door meeting with Sam Bockarie’s soldiers. The witness said that as Sam Bockarie and Benjamin Yeaten walked side by side, Benjamin Yeaten’s assistant stabbed Sam Bockarie. The Sierra Leonean soldiers were unarmed at the time and completely unaware of what was going to happen. Benjamin Yeaten had ordered the soldiers to leave their weapons in Côte d’Ivoire. Sam Bockarie ran into the bush. He was then apprehended by soldiers from Nimba who beat him with sticks. The witness explained that he had seen the scene with his own eyes. He said it happened in Kpein Town. Further in detail, the witness explained that he had a gun called ‘H&K Classic’, with long sight glasses. It was through these glasses that the witness saw the incident. He explained that one of the officers, ‘the director himself’, shot Sam Bockarie before he was stabbed.
The Defense continued with a line of questioning about the witness’ return to Monrovia. He returned on 15th of March. The Defense referred to the police interview where the Witness was shown a photo of a vehicle and discussed the fighting on Slipway bridge. The witness confirmed that the fighting happened on the 23rd of March, 2003. The witness confirmed that the last time he saw Massaquoi was on the 4th of April 2003 in Taylor’s last meeting with his generals. The Defense then moved to the store shooting incident. In trial the day before, the Witness had said that the shooting happened on the 9th of June 2003. The Defense pointed out that in the police interview the witness had said that it possibly happened on the 7th of March 2003. The Witness clarified that the store shootings did not only happen on one day. He remembered shootings on the 7th of March and 9th of April.
The Defense then asked how many times he and Sam Bockarie were together before he died. The Witness said that he was the very first soldier assigned to Sam Bockarie and that he knows him well and that he would recognize him in pictures. Although the Defense said that according to the police interview summary in one photograph the Witness identified Sam Bockarie incorrectly, the Witness said that was impossible because he knew Sam Bockarie so well. The Witness continued that he kept an album, as a souvenir, with pictures of Gibril Massaquoi as well as other Sierra Leoneans, as he was their key contact in Liberia. The pictures with Gibril Massaqoi were taken in Nimba County, Montserrado at the border with Ivory Coast. The album is in Grand Gedeh county with [FNM-265] for safekeeping because it has a lot of historical things in it. It contains pictures from 1990 until 2003. The pictures with Gibril Massaquoi were at E.J. Royce with [FNM-129], some on the bridge and some at the border. The last time he looked at the pictures in 2004. The Finish police asked to see the picture but the Witness did not show it to them because of the process to get the picture.
Defense then asked the witness whether he knew Junior Jackson and the witness confirmed he did and that he also fought for NPFL and that he saw him the last time three months ago in Nimba where the witness worked in logging. When asked he could not remember Moses Morris.
When the Defense asked if they could see the photo album the witness explained that the [FNM-265] who is safekeeping the album is in Ivory Coast and she did not want to give back the album. She did not return before the witness had to leave for Monrovia.
Prosecution Questions the Witness Further
The Prosecutor asked whether the witness still stands by his previous statement that one month after Massaquoi shot people in the store the war ended. The Witness corrected that Gabriel did not shoot but as his unit did, the commander is held responsible. When the Prosecutor asked if the Witness heard Gabriel give the order, the witness responded that Gabriel’s men told him that it was the Commander who gave that order. The witness then went to meet Gabriel at E.J. Roye building. The witness said that [FNM-109] told him that Arch Angel ordered the shooting. He also confirmed that after the shooting the war lasted for about a month.