The 52nd day of public hearings resumed on Friday, 29th September in Monrovia, Liberia.

Defense Witness 07 is Heard

The Defense questions Defense Witness 07

First, the Defense asked whether Massaquoi owned a truck or trucks. The witness replied that he did not know. The witness explained that he had a lot of interaction with Massaquoi between 1999 and 2003 and if he had a truck or trucks he would have known. The witness added that he knew Massaquoi to be a fighter, not a businessman. 

The Defense then asked whether the RUF had a base in Kalahun. The Witness confirmed there was one and said that he was a commander there. He confirmed that he knew of a place called Manowa, between Kono and Kolahun, after Valahun. Between 2001 and 2003 it was impossible to drive a truck between Kono and Kalahun because of a river called Muan, which lacked a bridge. To cross this river, one would have had to use a local canoe. It was impossible to transport pickups or small cars across it. 

The Defense next asked whether Mr. Massaquoi had a base in Kolahun. The witness answered that he did not in the period since 1991.

The Defense asked questions about the RUF party. The witness said that after disarmament in 2001, the RUF members were no longer soldiers and went into politics. The party was founded when the RUF started the peace process. Mr. Massaquoi became a “big politician” in the party and was no longer an armed man. 

The Defense returned to the RUF’s military period. The witness said that in Makeni, covering up to Makuna, the base marine was the brigade commander, such as himself. Next the Defense asked about Sam Bockarie leaving for Liberia and the witness confirmed that he left after the signing of the peace accord. Gibril Massaqoui, the witness and Foday Sankoh were in Freetown at the time. Sam Bockarie did not visit Sierra Leone again after he left for Liberia. Bockarie left for Liberia with other commanders like [FNM-298] and other soldiers. When asked if he knew the name the group used while in Liberia the witness replied that some of them were called the ATU, and that they were with the President. Sam Bockarie’s group, according to the witness, did not have a special name. The witness’ group was called the Cobra unit. 

When asked about the relationship between Sam Bockarie and Massaquoi, the witness replied that they could work together. Sam Bockarie was the area commander and oversaw the “whole revolution”. After Sam Bockarie left for Liberia, his relationship with Massaquoi was on bad terms, and Massaquoi had no further dealings with Bockarie. When asked about Sam Bockarie’s death, the witness said that he had heard about it. The Defense asked if the witness had heard that Massaquoi had taken over after Bockarie left for Liberia. The witness said that Issa Sesay took over command after Bockarie left for Liberia. During the witness’ time in Kolahun, he did not hear of any special forces in the border region between Sierra Leone and Liberia. The RUF only had two generals: Issa Sesay and Mosquito. The witness did not know anything about Issa Sesay’s death. 

The Prosecution questions Defense Witness 07

The Prosecution referred to the witness’ earlier statement in Freetown. The witness confirmed that the RUF had a meeting in Kono, after which he was sent to Lofa, Liberia, to “clear the way,” which was necessary for peace in Sierra Leone. The Prosecution reminded the witness that he had said the mission lasted one month, after which the witness returned to Sierra Leone. The witness stated that it was more than a month. After a meeting in Kono in October 2000, he went to Monrovia on a mission, and stayed until the disarmament started. The Prosecution suggested that disarmament would have been in the end of 2000 or beginning of 2001, which the witness accepted. The witness said he did not go back to Liberia again after returning to Sierra Leone. He also confirmed that he has said that the RUF did not fight in the Liberian civil war.

The Prosecution asked if he knew [Witness 3] and [Witness 12] and the Witness confirmed that he did; they were fighters. The witness said that they did not fight in Liberia after he left because at that stage, they didn’t have ammunition; he was the last to turn over his arms to the UN force commander. The Prosecution told the witness that [Witness 3] and [Witness 12] testified earlier in the trial and said that they were sent to Lofa, Liberia, in 2001 with more than 500 men. The Witness said “no.” 

The Prosecution moved to Massaquoi and established that the witness met Massaquoi in Voinjama when Massaquoi was on his way from Sierra Leone to Monrovia. The witness explained that Massaquoi was the head of delegation from the Kono meeting. Massaquoi did not return to Monrovia after that trip. 

The Prosecution then asked if the witness had knowledge of Massaquoi having trucks in Monrovia between 2002 and 2003. He replied that it “did not happen.” The Prosecution repeated the witness’ earlier statement that one could not drive a truck between Kono and Kalahun because of a river. The witness expanded that there was a main road, but in 2000 it was impossible to drive via the main road because it was occupied by ECOMOG and civil defense forces. The Prosecution asked about possibility of using the road in 2002 and 2003. The witness said he wouldn’t know; there was no war by then, so he had changed location. He was in the Kolahun district until the elections, at which point he moved to his home. The Prosecution asked the witness if he knew when the elections took place in 2002 and the witness said they were in May or June. 

The Defense questions the witness further

The Defense returned to earlier questioning and reminded the witness that he said that there was no bridge while he just testified that there was a main road. The witness clarified that he spoke about Sierra Leone, not Liberia; there is a road from Kono, Darubara to Kolahun. The Defense followed by asking whether, during his stay in Kolahun until 2002, it was possible to get to Monrovia from Sierra Leone. The witness replied that there was a road through Quadi, Foya, Voinjama, Kolahun and on to Monrovia, and that Massaquoi took these roads not to fight but for peace. 

The Defense asked who had control up until the elections in 2002. The witness replied that the president took over the country and the military took over the border all the way up to Robert spot. 

The Defense then asked who Mosquito Spray was and the Witness replied that he was in Liberia but that he did not know him. Then the witness confirmed that Massaquoi was not Sam Bockarie’s bodyguard but was a commander under Sam Bockarie. The witness had not heard of a unit called Young Plan.

The Defense then asked if Sam Bockarie and his men operated in Liberia after the witness left. The witness confirmed that they did. He said that when they went to Liberia, they fought for the government of Liberia under the ATU and were no longer RUF. Sam Bockarie cut off contact with the RUF after he left Sierra Leone. The Defense then asked if UN troops came to Kolahun and the witness affirmed they did and that they disarmed him in 2001. 

Defense Witness 21 is Heard

The Defense questions Defense Witness 21

The Defense asked the witness if Gibril Massaquoi ever owned trucks. The witness said that he had not heard of a Mercedes truck and only knew of a Mandiros one. The Defense asked if the witness would be able to tell the difference. The witness stated that Mandiros trucks don’t use water, and confirmed that he was talking about a small, 6-tyre truck. In 2000 and 2001, someone nicknamed [FNM-299] drove the truck to transport goods from Makeni to Kono. The witness said that Massaquoi did not run transportation in 2002 or 2003; the witness only knew of his private vehicle. The witness said that Massaquoi was not a part of the transportation of rice and cocoa to Voinjama; the witness would have known if Massaquoi were doing so. 

The Defense asked about [FNM-299]. The witness only knew [FNM-299] by his nickname and said that [FNM-299] also knew the witness. [FNM-299] only transported goods, and not soldiers.

The Defense next asked if the witness knew who the RUF commander in Mabuka was. The Witness responded it was [FNM-300], a Liberian, and that there were others too whom he could not remember.  

The Prosecution questions Defense Witness 21

The Prosecution stated that, according to his notes, Massaquoi arranged transportation from Makeni to Kono. The witness denied having said so and stated that he only knew that [FNM-299] played a role in transportation and was responsible for the truck. The Prosecution asked how the witness knew that Massaquoi was not involved. The witness said that he saw Massaquoi every day and never saw [FNM-299] give money to Massaquoi from the truck. The Prosecution asked who [FNM-299] drove the truck for in 2002. The Witness replied that it was for [FNM-301]. The last time he saw [FNM-299] was in early 2002 before the elections. The witness also said that some people knew him (the witness) as [FNM-302].

The Defense questions Defense Witness 21 further

In response to Defense’s follow up questions the witness said that Massaquoi did not speak Temne. The witness also confirmed that Massaquoi did not smoke cigarettes, nor did he consume drugs. The witness said that Massaquoi only drank Palm wine but not in front of the witness because he is Muslim.  

Defense Witness 08 is Heard

The witness confirmed he was interviewed by the Finnish Police on the 10th of October 2020. In March 2003 he started service at the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) as a witness protection officer, under the supervision of [FNM-243]. Previously, the witness was a police officer in the Sierra Leonean police force. The witness was tasked with protecting Gibril Massaquoi, who “came in” on the 8th of March 2003. Prior to that date, the witness was unaware of Massaquoi having anything to do with the SCSL.

Massaquoi was placed under protection in the safe house together with his wife and children. There were six of them in total, including one of his daughters, [FNM-178], [FNM-199], [FNM-198], and [FNM-194].

The Defense displayed an image on the court monitor. The witness confirmed the image was of Massaquoi’s safe house. The witness confirmed that he took the picture about a week ago and sent it to his boss, [FNM-243]. The witness said that the house had a fence around the whole building and that the barbed wire on top of the fence in the photo was present when Massaquoi stayed in the house. The witness said the house had two gates, and inside it had two floors, with three rooms upstairs, one downstairs and bathrooms on both floors, alongside one bathroom outside. The witness later confirmed that this photo was of the first of Massaquoi’s safe houses.

The Defense asked how long Massaquoi stayed in the safe house and the Witness replied that it was one year. Massaquoi stayed upstairs with his family and the security stayed downstairs. In terms of security measures, the witness said that the house was guarded 24 hours a day, with a change of guards twice a day at 7a.m. and at 5p.m. The protection officers had guns and when guards changed over, they always did a tour of the yard, checking on Massaquoi and his family. They also had a log book. At the start, there were three guards but in May 2003 additional guards protected the house. When the witness worked at the house, he was one of three guards, and they rotated between themselves. Every time he was on duty, he went through the checks. Once a week, the locks were checked by the witness’ boss, [FNM-303].

The Defense asked how food was brought to the safe house. The Witness replied that during the first two months there was a cook called [FNM-304] who was upstairs inside the house. Thereafter the family cooked for themselves. Massaquoi’s wife would go out to the market shopping. Massaquoi was receiving an allowance by the court between March and August. It was brought by a protection officer, [FNM-305], weekly, and Massaquoi had to sign a document for it.

The Defense asked the witness to describe the task of protecting Massaquoi and whether he was in danger. The witness replied that Massaquoi was in danger and that was why they were protecting him. The witness knew there was a complaint against Massaquoi since he had become a witness at the SCSL. When asked if Massaquoi was ever in direct danger of violence while in the safe house, the Witness responded that Massaquoi was in danger because he was a witness. The witness said that Massaquoi had been attacked in the safe house. 

The Defense asked about Massaquoi leaving the safe house. The witness said that in 2003 Massaquoi never left the safe house on his own. When he left the house, it was with the security personnel. Massaquoi was never absent from the safehouse for days in a row, and he did not leave for Liberia from the safe house. The witness said that Massaquoi could not have left without witness’ knowledge because the security personnel had the keys to the doors and were unlocking and locking them. 

Between March and the end of August in 2003, the witness said that the security personnel took Massaquoi out every Sunday to get palm wine and then brought him back to the house. Aside from that, Massaquoi left the house to meet SCSL officials. The lawyers would write to [FNM-243] and [FNM-243] would instruct the security personnel to take Massaquoi to the Court where he would stay for hours, after which the security personnel returned him to the safe house. The witness estimated that he took Massaquoi to the Court once a month, and each time he went to get Massaquoi, he was in the house. The witness said that Massaquoi never left the safe house otherwise unless it was with the security from the Court (SCSL). Massaquoi had a telephone and received calls while in the safe house. The witness also received messages through his office that he transmitted to Massaquoi. The witness said he saw Massaquoi every day. When asked if the witness ever feared that Massaquoi left the safe house on his own, he replied that Massaquoi knew his life was in danger and that he would not leave the safe house. The witness explained there were other witnesses who were not given protection, but they also received houses from the SCSL.

The Defense turned to Massaquoi’s allowance. The witness explained that someone called [FNM-305] came from the office and gave Massaquoi cash, which Massaquoi signed for. The witness added that Massaquoi only started signing for the cash between March and August. Only Massaquoi could receive the money, not his family, because he was the witness. The witness said that Massaquoi followed the rules of the safe house and was the first witness to be placed in a safe house. Many other witnesses were placed under protection in 2003 after Massaquoi. Protected witnesses were not told where other protected witnesses lived and did not know each other. Each witness only knew about him/herself. The witness worked for Gibril Massaquoi’s family in 2003 until they left. He did not escort them to Finland.

When asked, the witness said that during his stay at the safe house Massaquoi went to a funeral in Kenema with a protection officer. The Witness explained that Massaquoi could not have left the safe house for one week or longer because he was in danger and for this reason, they protected the safe house. In the event that Massaquoi wanted to leave the safe house without permission the witness was under instruction not to allow him out. 

The Prosecution questions Defense Witness 08

The Prosecution asked the witness about his place of employment. The witness said he currently works for the Sierra Leonean police but that he worked for the SCSL until December 2019. The Prosecution turned to the witness’ testimony to the Finnish Police. According to the police summary, the witness had said that he started working in March 2003 and Massaquoi was picked up in May 2003, while today he testified that he came to the safe house on March 8, 2003. The Witness explained that what he told the Finish police was a mistake after he checked his records following the interview. 

The Prosecution moved next to the location of the first safe house. According to the police report the address the witness gave to the Finnish police for the first safe house was in fact the address of the second safe house to which Massaquoi was moved after a year (on Jomo Kenyatta road). Before the Court, the witness confirmed that the address of the first safe house was on Pipeline Road. After the Prosecution played the recording of the testimony, the Witness conceded he had made a mistake about the address because it has been a long time since. The Prosecutor next asked about [FNM-178] and the witness explained that he was in the safe house because Massaquoi said he was family. 

The Prosecutor then addressed the witness’ duties as a protection officer at the safe house. The witness said that all protection officers were also drivers at the SCSL. The Prosecution asked the witness to explain his schedule around these two roles. The witness replied that whenever he was not on duty at the safe house he was expected to be at the office at the SCSL. Initially Massaquoi was the only witness and there were four officers, three on duty at Massaquoi’s safe house. Later, there were more protected witnesses whom his unit protected. In terms of the schedule, the witness clarified that by May 2003 there were ten protection officers. He would spend two to three days at the safe house and then he would drive for about two days. When the witness was away from the safe house doing driving duties, other protection officers were there. The witness said that when he was on driving duty, he drove the protection officers to Massaquoi’s safe house but did not go in to check if Massaquoi was there.

The Prosecution asked the witness to recall some of his colleagues working for the safe house, SCSL and Sierra Leonean police.

The Prosecution asked about the witness protection unit at the SCSL. The witness confirmed that it was a distinct unit that protected witnesses for both the prosecution and the defence. The unit had no conflict. 

The Prosecutor asked about the attack on Massaquoi and the Witness confirmed it happened in the third safe house. The witness said he had heard of the attack because he had been at the office at the time. When asked by the Prosecution whether the witness heard rumours that the attack was staged and that Massaquoi had something to do with it, he replied that he did not.

The Prosecution next repeated the witness’ earlier testimony that he took care of Massaquoi and his family from March 2003 until they went to Finland. The witness confirmed that the security arrangements were the same throughout the period and that Massaquoi never left the house, nor did he travel without security. When the Prosecution brought up the fact that some witnesses testified to have met him outside the safe house, albeit with security guards, the Witness denied that Massaquoi ever left the safe house but allowed that one of his family members came into the safe house to meet him. The witness said that the guards had a logbook and anytime Massaquoi left the house he filled in details. The protocol was always the same. The Prosecution described another witness’ testimony that he could enter the safe house easily because he was family, but the witness denied the fact and said it was not allowed. The Witness also denied that Massaquoi could give the supplies he received, like medicine, to anyone outside the safe house.

Following the Prosecution’s questioning, the witness recalled that while all the guards were armed in 2005, one of them, [FNM-306], had lost his pistol before he came on duty to the safe house. The Witness explained that [FNM-306] “always” drank alcohol when off duty. The witness confirmed that Massaquoi only ever stayed in the safe house before leaving for Finland. The witness also confirmed that the gun was lost outside of the safe house, nobody else lost their gun, and protection officers didn’t get holidays.

The Prosecution then asked about the last time the witness spoke to Massaquoi and he replied in 2010 but that he does not remember the month. Massaquoi was at the safe house in Sierra Leone, and they spoke about the fact that Massaquoi should stay in the house because as a protected witness he would be in danger. The Prosecution asked whether the witness remembers what he had told to the Finnish police. The witness denied speaking to Massaquoi a year ago or speaking to [FNM-178]. The interview recording of 16 October 2020 was played. In the recording, the witness answered that when [FNM-178], Massaquoi’s brother, was in Freetown, the witness spoke to Massaquoi via [FNM-178] because Massaquoi was in prison. The witness said that he thought the recording was a mistake but confirmed that [FNM-178] had come to meet him in his office. The witness confirmed that he had become friends with Massaquoi and [FNM-178] while they were at the safe house because protection officers had to speak to witnesses. The witness repeated that it was impossible for Massaquoi to leave the safe house without anyone knowing. He didn’t know anything about whether Massaquoi was sent for operations for the Court.

The Defense questions Defense Witness 08 Again

The Defense asked whether, if Massaquoi left the safe house for a month, people would have known about it. The witness responded that the whole office would have known. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *