The 51st day of public hearings resumed on 28 September 2021 in Monrovia, Liberia.
Witness L3 is heard
Defense Questions the Witness
The witness described his interviews with Finnish police. He recalled that he was interviewed twice in 2021 and was put in touch with the Finnish police through [FNM-294], a former soldier. He and [FNM-294] spoke of the interview process, but the witness indicated that he first spoke with [GJRP-1], who had previously been their chief in UNIMO. The witness noted that, in 2015, he met with [GJRP-1] at a funeral on Bushrod Island. There, [GJRP-1] called the witness aside to tell him that he was expecting to receive a contract, and that he wanted the witness to work with him on it. At that time, [GJRP-1] did not tell the witness what the contract was. The witness met [GJRP-1] again at the funeral of [FNM-295] in 2021, where the witness saw [GJRP-1] “tussling up” with [FNM-294]. Upon seeing this tussle, the witness went between the two men, and walked [GJRP-1] away. He then spoke with [GJRP-1] for five minutes, and at this point, [GJRP-1] told him, “what I told you about has materialized”. According to the witness, [GJRP-1] then stated, “I want you to work for me. I want you to testify against three persons”. The witness indicated that these three individuals were Alieu Kosiah (who the witness identified as a former ULIMO soldier), Issa Kabah, and Yusuf Massaquoi. The witness did not know who Issa Kabah or Yusuf Massaquoi were but stated that [GJRP-1] told the Witness he would tell him what to say. [GJRP-1] then gave the witness twenty dollars and told the witness he would call him in April. [GJRP-1] then took the witness’ number, but never called him.
After this conversation, the witness stated that [FNM-294] called to ask what he had discussed with [GJRP-1], and the witness explained it to him. After the first two weeks of April passed, [FNM-294] called to ask whether [GJRP-1] had called. The witness stated that he had not, and in response, [FNM-294] told the witness to come see him. The witness went to see [FNM-294], who asked what he had decided to do. The witness then told [FNM-294] that he couldn’t lie and that he didn’t know them from anywhere. The witness repeated that [FNM-294] connected him with the people.
The witness then explained how he knew [GJRP-1]. The witness knew [GJRP-1] was the Political Vice Chairman to [FNM-287] but stated that he was in hiding. The witness did not have any activity with [GJRP-1], but his boss, [FNM-296], did. The Witness did see [GJRP-1] during the ULIMO time.
The witness stated that he also fought in the LURD, in Gbarnga, Tubmanburg, Gbarpolu, Cape Mount, and Margibi County. The witness did not state that he was in a LURD unit with a special name. His chief in LURD was [FNM-297]. [FNM-297] was the Deputy Chief of Staff in the witness’ control area. After [FNM-297] died, the witness did not have any boss. The witness did not know any individual named Massaquoi who was on the LURD side.
Turning back to the topic of [GJRP-1], the witness stated that, in exchange for his testimony against those people, [GJRP-1] promised the witness twenty thousand dollars as well as assistance in leaving Liberia with his family. [GJRP-1] did not call him after the funeral, however, which made the Witness go and explain what [GJRP-1] had wanted him to do.
The Prosecution Questions the Witness
The Prosecution opened by asking the witness whether he met [GJRP-1] personally other than the two instances the witness described in 2015 and 2021. The witness stated that he had, but could not remember every instance they met, adding that he thought that they were all in the same organization. The witness stated he had not seen [GJRP-1] again since the 2021 funeral. The witness further added that, when he met [GJRP-1] in 2015, it was in Logan Town, and in 2021, it was at Black Gina’s Yard. In 2015, [GJRP-1] did not give the Witness details on who he should testify against, and it was only in 2021 that [GJRP-1] stated those names.
The Prosecution asked the witness to confirm that, this year, [GJRP-1] asked the witness to testify against Alieu Kosiah, which the witness did. The witness stated that [GJRP-1] did not tell him what he should say about Mr. Kosiah, but that [GJRP-1] only said that he was going to call him to tell him what to say. The Prosecution, referring to the witness’ earlier testimony, then asked the witness to confirm that, because [GJRP-1] did not contact him, the witness came to speak with police. The witness disagreed with that, stating that he came to the police because he was not satisfied with what [GJRP-1] wanted him to do.
The Prosecution noted that the witness was interviewed twice by police, and during his first interview, discussed the 2015 meeting with [GJRP-1]. The witness repeated that [GJRP-1] did not state any names in 2015, but simply told the witness that he wanted him to testify. Reading from the Finnish police summary of the witness’ interview, the Prosecution stated the following: “[GJRP-1] came to you in 2015 and said he had an assignment for you; at that time [GJRP-1] asked you to testify against three persons: Gibril Massaquoi, Alieu Kosiah, and Issa Kabah”. The Prosecution asked the witness to explain the discrepancies between his current testimony and that statement. The witness noted that there can be differences in discussions.
The Prosecutor then asked the witness about Yusuf Massaquoi and Gibril Massaquoi. The witness stated that he only knew the names Yusuf Massaquoi, Alieu Kosiah, and Issa Kabah, that he did not know who Gibril Massaquoi was, and that [GJRP-1] told him what to say. The Prosecutor asked the witness whether [GJRP-1] told him to testify against both Yusuf Massaquoi and Gibril Massaquoi, or if they were the same people. The witness responded, “The name, the way people can say it, they can’t understand us, but the names are the same”. The witness reaffirmed that [GJRP-1] promised him a reward if he testified against the three people [GJRP-1] named.
The witness then was asked whether he knew a person by the name of [FNM-201]. The witness stated that he knew someone by that name, explaining that he did not know him personally but that they had spoken on the phone. The witness explained that this individual was a journalist or correspondant, that he did not know where [FNM-201] worked, and that they could only speak on someone’s phone. The witness added that he spoke to [FNM-201] using [FNM-294]’s phone. The witness believed they spoke on 10 April, when he was in Ganta. The Witness confirmed that he spoke to [FNM-201] this year, and clarified that [FNM-201] called [FNM-294]’s phone, and then [FNM-294] gave the phone to the witness. When asked what he discussed with [FNM-201], the witness told the Court that [FNM-201] asked him if they could speak, to which the Witness responded, “I cannot talk to you because we are in a meeting, but talk with [FNM-294] and he will tell me”. [FNM-294] then told the witness that he spoke with [FNM-201], and that [FNM-294] would bring him to meet the people. When asked whether the witness spoke with [FNM-201] again, the witness stated that [FNM-201] had his name and contact information. The witness added that they occasionally text each other, “Hi”.
Turning back to the witness’ familiarity with [GJRP-1], the Prosecution asked whether the witness knew what [GJRP-1] does for a living. The witness stated that he knew [GJRP-1] could testify, and when asked by the Prosecutor whether he meant that [GJRP-1] can go testify or that [GJRP-1] can look for people to testify, the witness stated that [GJRP-1] looks for people to testify. The Prosecutor suggested that [GJRP-1] might have been doing his job when he spoke to the witness on this matter. In response, the Witness stated, “actually I know him as my former boss, and I know the work he does is that he testifies… this is the job he’s doing”. The witness confirmed that he told the Finnish police that [GJRP-1] promised him twenty thousand dollars, and the Prosecutor noted that this did not appear in the police summary, though the witness did mention receiving asylum in the summary. The witness repeated that he mentioned this amount to the police. Turning to the mention of asylum, the Prosecutor asked the witness whether he told [GJRP-1] that he would be afraid for his safety were he to testify. The witness stated that was what he told [GJRP-1] and that, in response, [GJRP-1] stated that he would help the witness and his family leave the country.
Counsel Re-Examines the Witness
The Defense asked whether [FNM-201] or [FNM-294] gave the witness instructions on what to tell the Finnish police, and the witness stated that they did not. The witness stated that, when [GJRP-1] asked him to testify against Mr. Massaquoi, the witness immediately told [GJRP-1] that he did not know him, and that [GJRP-1] responded by telling the witness that he would tell him what to say.
The Prosecution asked whether, at any point, [GJRP-1] has told the witness what to say about these people, and the witness stated that [GJRP-1] never gave the witness any details: “he only said when he gets to me, he will tell me, but he never got to me”.
The public hearings closed for the day, while one more witness was called in a private session. The trial was set to resume on 22 September 2021 in Monrovia, Liberia.