16/05/21 [Sierra Leone] Day 32: The Hearing of Witnesses 66 and 67
Witness 66 is Heard
(Finnish Witness ID: Defense Witness 20)
The Defense Questions the Witness
The Defense began by asking the Witness how and where she met Gibril Massaquoi. The Witness explained that she met Massaquoi in Buedu. The Defense then questioned the Witness as to her membership to the RUF, and she replied that she was a member of the RUFP and was responsible for education. She was also one of 11 people, including Massaquoi, who went for the ECOWAS peace process in 2000. The Witness could also recall the names of the others involved in the peace process and stated they worked together during the Abuja cease-fire agreement. She mentioned Jonathan Kposowa, who was chairman of that peace agreement in Abuja, FNM-181, FNM-219, and Massaquoi – the Witness was the only female of the group and, together with Massaquoi, the only ones still alive.
The Defense asked about ECOWAS’s role in the peace process. The Witness answered that ECOWAS directed them to “open all doors” and roads so that the UN would supervise and monitor the cease-fire. The agreement was to observe the cease-fire, to release hostages, and to allow civilian access to some areas, including allowing NGOs to provide food assistance in the RUF controlled areas, such as Kono, Makeni, and Kailahun. The respective parties signed the agreement on 11th November 2000, 10 am in the ECOWAS building, Abuja.
The Defence asked the Witness to detail how their delegation got to Nigeria. The Witness described the journey stating that they passed through Liberia. They moved from Makeni to Kono, then from Kailahun to the Foya airfield and then to Springfield airport. This journey was on 8th November 2000. The Witness added that they used vehicles from Kailahun to Foya. The trip from Makeni to Monrovia took two to three days due to road ambushes, and there was a moving jet as well. She added that they only moved at night because of ambushes and the jet. When asked why they were followed by a jet, the Witness explained that the government was fighting the RUF at the time. Some people died because the jet tracking them dropped a missile during a trip from Manona to Bunubu in the Kailahun District of Sierra Leone.
They stayed one day in Monrovia, and then ECOWAS sent a flight to pick them up at the Roberts international airport, as Springfield airport was too small. Once in Nigeria, the agreement negotiations lasted 35 days, and the RUF delegation stayed for the entire time, meeting with representatives of the governments of Sierra Leone and Nigeria, including the Nigerian President. She explained that Gibril Massaquoi was with them, and was staying in the room next to hers at the hotel where they were residing. They were always at the hotel, having meetings every day for the peace negotiation. The Defense asked whether the Defendant did anything else during the 35 days in Abuja, and the witness responded that “we did not even go out,” and reiterated that her and the Defendant were “always” in the hotel together. After the agreement, they went from Roberts airport to Foya’s airfield on the same day, and then they went back to Sierra Leone, in the Kailahun district, and then Makeni. Massaquoi was with them.
The Defense asked the Witness if she knew about Abuja 1 and 2, and she responded that Abuja 1 involved the President, and Abuja 2 involved ECOWAS. She specified that she attended Abuja 1, but did not attend Abuja 2, and she did not know if Massaquoi participated in Abuja 2 because she was in Kono.
After the negotiations of Abuja 1, she was in Makeni with Massaquoi. She was there until after the cease-fire agreement, as people started entering the district. The Defense asked if the Witness met Massaquoi after Makeni, and she responded that they were together in Lumley. The Witness stated that she had also met him in Freetown in 1999, and he was staying in Kingtom, and later transferred to Brookfields. The Defense specified if she met Massaquoi after the cease-fire agreement in Nigeria in 2000, and she responded in the affirmative, and that they were in Makeni. From Makeni, she returned to Kailahun, when the civilians and the UN entered their zones. From Kailahun, she met Massaquoi on visits to Freetown around 2001 and 2002; they used to talk and she would sometimes stay overnight with his family. The Special Court had already started its work, and the Witness came back to Freetown to reinstate her work at the ministry of education, as she was working in Kailahun for the ministry.
When asked about what Massaquoi was doing during that time in Freetown, the Witness explained that he had said he was looking for a job; he had been a spokesman for the RUF, but now the group had transitioned into a political party. The Defense asked the Witness if Massaquoi participated in politics, and she responded that yes, he was questioned about the RUFP and the sustainability of the peace agreement being the last, and he had said he was optimistic. The RUFP took part in the elections twice, once with Edward Collins after the war. Massaquoi had participated in the electoral process as a spokesman for the RUFP.
The last time the Witness saw Massaquoi was at the Special Court, in the hall where they used to see the hearings. They were invited there because they were witnesses.
The Witness confirmed she was interviewed by the Finnish police on the 24th of March 2021, and that before then nobody had contacted her from Finland.
The Witness had some documents on her about the peace process in Abuja, which she said reflected what she had said during the hearing. The Court took a 50-minute break as the documents were copied.
The Defense Questions the Witness Further
After the break, the Defense read out loud the heading of the document regarding the cease-fire agreement between the Sierra Leone government and the RUF signed on the 10th of November 2000 and asked the Witness if this was what they discussed during the negotiation. She responded in the affirmative. The Defense continued by saying that the document was drafted in Bamako in 2000, and had Alpha Umaru Turay’s signature, and asked the Witness if she knew anything about the agreement or any other. The Witness explained that when they went to Abuja, they were shown the Bamako, Lomé, and Abuja agreements, which were prior diplomatic efforts to put a stop to the continuation of the war. The Defense asked the Witness if she negotiated the Bamako agreement, and she responded that the reason why they were in Abuja for 35 days was that they had to look at past agreements between the government, the RUF, and ECOWAS in order to understand the work done so far and understand the cease-fire process better.
The Witness explained that the RUF delegation did not initially want to sign the document because it did not have anything regarding peace, but when they went through it and saw it had “something about peace” they eventually ended up signing it, so that the UN and other actors could have access to their zones and the disarmament process could begin. It had been Corporal Fonday Sankoh who had attended the Bamako agreement, and he was under arrest when the Witness and her group went to Abuja; and even if they initially did not want to sign, they ended up doing so for the country, and allowed the UN to “make life normal” in Sierra Leone and “that was the end”.
The Defense asked the Witness when Foday Sankoh was arrested, and she responded that it happened on June 6, in Freetown at Wilbertforce, around 1999-2000, even if she could not remember the year precisely. The Defense pointed out that the Bamako agreement was dated August 8, 2000, and asked her if to the Witness’s knowledge Foday Sankoh was arrested before then. She answered in the affirmative, that he was arrested by the government of Sierra Leone, and that the 11 delegates in Abuja, including herself, “used our discretion to sign the agreement to bring back the country to normal life”. The Witness was then shown the Bamako agreement by the Court, and she explained that it was signed by Foday Sankoh, and reiterated that the reason why they had shown the agreement in Abuja was for the RUF delegation to be aware of the documents that the Sierra Leonean government and ECOWAS had been working on with Foday Sankoh.
The Defense reminded the Witness that she had said that Foday Sankoh had been arrested on June 6, 2001 or 2002 and asked if it was before the Bamako agreement. She responded in the negative, as Sankoh was present during the agreement, and that she and the other delegates only signed the Abuja agreement once they were shown the Bamako and Lomé agreements.
The Defense then asked when the disarmament started in Sierra Leone, and when it ended. The Witness responded that after the cease-fire agreement in 2000, the UN entered, and the disarmament started in Kono, Makeni, and then Freetown. The Pakistan Army Contingent worked in Kono. The last area to be disarmed was Kailahun District, around 2001 and 2002. Peace was declared on November 11, 2000 at 10 am and “there was no fight anymore,” “ever since there was no gunshot in Sierra Leone».
The Prosecution Questions the Witness
The questioning went back to the trip to Abuja, as the Prosecution asked if Massaquoi was with the Witness. She answered in the affirmative, and that the group was composed of 11 people, and they all travelled together. The Witness testified that Massaquoi was with the Witness for the whole duration of the trip of 35 days, including the return. The Prosecution asked if Massaquoi was with her also during the trip back to Sierra Leone, and she said yes, from Nigeria and then back to Makeni.
The Prosecution then asked what Massaquoi’s role was in 1997. The Witness answered that he was the spokesman, as he was educated, and they did not have many educated people, so he was in administration. When asked if Massaquoi was a commander, the Witness answered in the affirmative, but also explained that “when I say commander, I was commander of education, and he was commander as a spokesman”. When asked by the Prosecution if the Defendant was part of a combat group, the witness explained that she did not go to the warfront. The Witness further stated that she did not know if he was fighting, but that they were always together in the office, and Massaquoi used to talk to media outlets on behalf of the RUF.
The Prosecution asked when the RUFP was founded, and the Witness explained that it was formed in 2002, when they registered at the Hill Valley Hotel, at the time they were taking Issa Sesay and others to Rwanda.
The Prosecution referred to the hearing and stated that the Witness had testified that she met the Defendant after the ceasefire. The Witness agreed. The Prosecution then asked whether the Witness recalled what she had told the Finnish police in her interview on the subject, to which the Witness asserted that she had not been asked about seeing Massaquoi after Abuja 1. The Prosecution asked why, in the police summary, it was written that the Witness did not meet GM after Abuja 1. The Witness reiterated that she had answered what she was asked, explaining that she and the Defendant “used to meet” after the negotiation so she could not have said that they didn’t meet.
The Prosecution asked what day the delegation had left from Makeni to Abuja. The Witness stated that it was around the 47 to the 57 of November of 2000. In answer to the Prosecution’s question of whether the Witness knew if there was a time before or after that that the RUF had troops in Liberia, the Witness stated that she didn’t know. She explained that traveling to Nigeria for the ceasefire agreement was her first time traveling from Makeni to Liberia. The Prosecution asked whether the Witness or the delegation had been told they would not enter Liberia, except if Liberia and the RUF cleared the road. The Witness said no, there was no fight or ambush the day that the 11-man delegation was going for the negotiation. When asked when the delegation started planning the trip to Abuja, the Witness explained that the trip was not planned; the ECOWAS called in the evening and instructed the delegation to go to Abuja, and to avoid jet attacks they travelled that same night. On the way to Makeni there was no obstacle, but the Witness remembered that from Kono to Kailahun “we got afraid.” The Witness further explained that she did not want to go but she was asked to attend and say something about women and children at the peace process. The Witness stated that it was difficult to travel in Sierra Leone because there were “ambushes and jets all over,” but that they made it through Kailahun to Springfield airport. Later, the ECOWAS called the Nigerians to move the delegation to Robert airport so they could fly safely to Nigeria.
The Prosecution asked whether the Witness knew why the Defendant and other witnesses had said that the delegation could not travel to Liberia until the roads were cleared. The Witness answered that she swore “to God and to my children there was no clearing.” She stated further that they went to the airport until the helicopter arrived for them to leave for Monrovia. The Witness said she had no knowledge of the RUF going to Liberia before 2000, aside from the 11-person group of delegates of which she was a part. When asked if she knew whether the Defendant had gone to Liberia later, the Witness said that she and the Defendant were in Makeni and traveling from Makeni to Liberia was complicated; the road route was long and you would need to take a helicopter from Makeni, Kono and Kailahun before reaching Monrovia. The Prosecution asked for elaboration on the Witness’s assertion that the special court invited the Witness and Defendant to Freetown because they were witnesses. The Witness stated that they had been called on by the court to testify what they saw, but that she did not testify because nobody selected her as a witness. She stated further that they went upon the court’s call “every time,” and that they travelled from Kailahun to explain all that transpired. The Witness said the last time she met the Defendant was when the war was over, verdict had been passed over their colleagues and the RUF formed a party, “that was the last stage.” When asked whether the Defendant was a witness at the special court when they met, the Witness responded that the special court was a secret place, so she didn’t know what the Defendant or the court staff were doing there.
Witness 67 is Heard
(Finnish Witness ID: Defense Witness 12)
The Defense Questions the Witness
The Defense started out by asking the Witness how he knew Gibril Massaquoi. He explained that he is Gibril Massaquoi’s younger brother and knows him from birth. The Defense asked where Massaquoi was in the beginning of 1999. The Witness explained that his brother was in prison at that time and had been since 1998 when the AFRC took over President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah’s government, and Massaquoi travelled to Freetown because he was with the former rebel leader Foday Sankoh. The Witness stated that the Defendant was released from prison on January 67, 1999, and went to Makeni, where he lived and operated the front line. He returned to Freetown after the Lomé peace accord on the 77 of February 1999, because he was asked by Foday Sankoh to be his personal assistant. In Freetown, Massaquoi worked around Spur Road. At the time, the Witness was in Tongo because he was sent to work with the CMC, in South Bo, but delivered a report every Tuesday to Freetown. The Witness stated that when Massaquoi was working as Sankoh’s personal assistant, they went to South Africa. At the time, Sankoh was involved in the Lomé peace accord in the position of vice president and was in control of all the minerals in Sierra Leone. Massaquoi worked in Freetown from 1999 when Foday Sankoh first asked for his assistance to when Foday Sankoh was attacked and arrested in May of 2000.
The Defense asked the Witness whether anything happened to Gibril Massaquoi in that attack, and he replied that no, he escaped with a few others. He knew this because of the RUF radio that monitored and gave daily reports on all RUF activities. The Witness stated that the next time he met with his brother after the attack on Sankoh’s residence was in Makeni, in the second quarter of June.
The Witness explained that during the attack, Foday Sankoh and a few others were arrested, while a few others were killed. Sankoh was not freed after the attack. The Witness stated that the attack had a negative effect, as the central command was “shaky by then».
The Defense asked if the RUF took any action to arrange the command after Foday Sankoh’s arrest. The Witness explained that yes, Issa Sesay was on one side, and Morris Kallon and Rambo were on the other side. However, since the Lomé Peace Agreement was on track, the RUF was forced to continue to accept the peace accord. There was some type of negotiation to work towards the Lomé Peace Agreement, because at the time the RUF was under considerable pressure from the international community and especially ECOWAS. For this reason, all the commanders of the RUF were called to a large meeting in Kono. The Witness detailed that the first meeting took place in September 2000, and its purpose was to accept the peace agreement and carry out negotiations. The second meeting took place in October 2000 in Kono, where the RUF decided to appoint delegates to continue the peace process.
The Witness detailed that the peace process was fragile because Foday Sankoh had been arrested and some men were killed, but not withstanding that, the RUF accepted the peace plan, delegates were appointed and in the Kono meeting his brother, Gibril Massaquoi, was appointed to lead the delegation. The Witness clarified that he did not attend the Kono meeting, but that they had monitored it through their radios, and that the delegation had travelled in October to Monrovia, Liberia. The Witness remembered that amongst the delegates, there were FNM-204, Swarray, and Gibril Massaquoi, their leader. The Witness stated that from the radio monitoring, he knew that the delegation was in Liberia then moved to Nigeria to sign another ceasefire agreement over a period of 30 days, which was eventually signed on the 107 of November 2000. He further stated that the delegation took over a month and that the RUF daily report said that they were working on peace diplomacy.
The Defense asked if the Witness has been to Liberia. The Witness stated that he went to Liberia in 2001, when general Issa Sesay instructed the Witness and Witness 3 to cross into Liberia though Malla with 780 men. He explained that the reinforcement that he and Witness 3 went with fought, because there was no food, and the men were attacked by the LURD rebels who were based in Foya. After 3 days, the Witness and Witness 3 returned to Sierra Leone in anticipation of their DDR process. The Witness could not recall the village in Liberia that he and his men had been in. He also couldn’t recall if the RUF had burned villages in Lofa, explaining that his was the second command that went, and another commander had been before them, Witness 7. The Witness did not meet Witness 7 in Lofa, as they went in two different flanks. In Liberia, the Witness only met troops loyal to the NPFL. The Defense asked if the Witness fought with Charles Taylor’s forces, and he responded, “I fought as RUF.” When asked if he saw Taylor’s forces commit any atrocities, the Witness explained that there were no civilians around, only Taylor’s troops. He stated that Gibril Massaquoi didn’t fight, as he was on the peace process and “not a war lord.»
The Witness said that they were in Mendekoma and returned after 3 days because there was no food. Upon returning, the Witness went to Togo and took part of the disarmament in Kenema district. He left 70 men behind in Liberia, but his understanding was that most of the men escaped to Freetown for the DDR process.
The Witness remembered that Gibril Massaquoi returned to Sierra Leone after the ceasefire agreement in Nigeria had him away for over a month. Upon his return, the Defendant oversaw all the tripartite meetings which concerned a lot of other arrangements for a peaceful disarmament. The tripartite meetings included the RUF, the government of Sierra Leone and the UN. The Witness specified that the UN body was UNAMSIL, representing ECOWAS. The disarmament started in 1999 when Foday Sankoh was in Freetown and the second one was in May 2001; the tripartite meetings were held regularly in the DDR office in Freetown to check if there were any lapses and plan how to forge ahead with disarmament. According to the witness, Gibril Massaquoi was always there in these meetings because he was living in Freetown. He first lived at Thunder Hill, Kissy, then at Jomo Kenyatta Road, and at Pump Line by Wilkinson Road, and lived at Nurse Holton Drive. In 2001, he said, the Defendant lived at 48 Thunder Hill Road, Kissy. The witness mentioned that another area the Defendant lived in was Kingdom, and in most of these areas where he lived, he was under the protection of the UN. The Witness specified that this was sometime in 2002 to 2003.
The Defense asked the Witness whether he knew of someone named Issa Sesay. The Witness responded that yes, he was a commander under the leadership of Foday Sankoh. After Sankoh’s arrest, Issa “was the leader.” However, the Witness stated that Issa Sesay and the Defendant did not have a good relationship. He explained that after Massaquoi had led a delegation to Nigeria and the peace process and disarmament was in place, Massaquoi and FNM-210 oversaw its implementation. Later, Sesay, who oversaw the arms wing, sent a command to Massaquoi and FNM-210 to stop all peace processes because he wanted to stall disarmament until Foday Sankoh was released from prison. Massaquoi responded that if stalling the peace process was a priority then Sesay should not have appointed him to lead the peace process to Liberia and all the way to Nigeria, which fuelled tension between the two. In 2002, Massaquoi was arrested by Sesay for 24 hours in Makeni but the UN team in Makeni led troops to release Massaquoi, who was airlifted out by a UN helicopter. The Witness explained that he knew this happened because each RUF command had a radio set and were informed as soon as anything happened.
After he was evacuated from Makeni, the Defendant lived in Thunder Hill Road. The Witness met the Defendant a month after the evacuation in Thunder Hill Road, where Massaquoi lived with his immediate family, as well as FNM-178, Witness 10, and Prince, who used to be called Prince Johnson. The Witness said that every time he went to Freetown, he went to see his brother. In addition, when the Defendant was traveling to the provinces, he met with their family in Bo and Blama Massaquoi. The Witness stated that at the time Massaquoi was trying to get into the fishing business, he was writing a project and was working on facilitating it, and that their family was on a chieftaincy struggle and so the Defendant went to the chiefdom to campaign alongside their elder sister, paramount chief Yoki Massaquoi, in the village of Blama Massaquoi. The Witness detailed that his brother told them about the fishing project that he wanted to establish at Gbonadampi, and that he knew about the chieftaincy election because the person that stood for the position was his elder sister. The Witness stated that he was not in Blama Massaquoi during the campaign.
The Defense asked the Witness if his brother had a nickname. The Witness said that his brother’s radio name was Jaffa, while Foday Sankoh was called Lion, Issa Sesay was called Surprising, and Sam Bockarie was called Scorpion. The Witness said that Bockarie was a battle commander, and head of all battles in the RUF from 1994 to the early days of 1999. After, Bockarie went to Liberia against Foday Sankoh’s demands and left the movement, taking more than 200 armed men with him. Issa Sesay was appointed in Bockarie’s position from then onward. The Defense asked where Bockarie went to in Liberia, but the Witness didn’t know. The Witness stated that his brother did not go with Bockarie to Liberia, and that nobody had contacted him before his police interview in 2020; “my brother who used to contact me is in prison».
The Prosecution Questions the Witness
The Prosecution started out by asking whether the Witness and the Defendant are biological brothers, and the Witness said yes. The Prosecution asked what the Witness had meant when he said that Gibril Massaquoi went to the Makeni front line after being freed. The Witness explained that when the government drove the West Side Boys, his brother had gone direct to Makeni. At the time in early 1999, the peace process was fragile, the Lomé peace agreement had not been signed, and Massaquoi’s friend Superman was head of the front line, so Massaquoi went to meet him. There, he was in the Makeni Lunsar Axis facing Freetown. The Witness explained that his brother was in charge, a front-line commander, after the 67 of January, because ECOMOG forces were at Robgere Junction. He had men under his control, and combined forces with Denis Mingo (alias Superman). The Witness stated that Massaquoi had fighters until the signing of the Lomé peace accord which occurred on the 77 of July 1999.
The Prosecution then turned to the attack on Foday Sankoh’s residence and Gibril Massaquoi’s subsequent departure to Lunsar. The Witness said after the attack on Sankoh’s residence in May 2000 he was lucky to escape and moved to Lunsar. The Witness elaborated that Massaquoi did not have soliders under his control once in Lunsar, as they were moving towards the Lomé Peace Agreement. The Prosecution asked whether the Witness remembered what he had responded to the same question in the Finnish police investigation. The Witness responded that he did, and that he answered that his brother had moved to Lunsar. The Prosecution pressed the Witness to confirm if the Defendant had fighters after May 8 2000, and he responded that his brother did not. The Prosecution asserted that the Witness had confirmed, in his police interview, that after May 8, Gibril Massaquoi and Superman had troops in Lunsar. The Witness stated that he had told the police that his brother had been appointed as Sankoh’s personal assistant, and that he had said that Gibril Massaquoi and Superman were together in Lunsar, so already “when we talk about Lunsar we must mention Makeni, they are in the same axis».
The Prosecution stated that the Witness was not present at the meeting in Kono but heard about it on the radio, and the witness confirmed the statement. The Prosecution then asked the Witness if he knew why ECOWAS wanted to meet with the RUF, and he responded that it was for the peace process. Liberia was chosen for the peace process because of its proximity in the subregion. The Witness explained that Liberia had an interest in Sierra Leone’s peace process, not only the RUF. The Prosecution asked the Witness what Liberia’s interest in Sierra Leone was, and the witness responded that it was in the peace process, and that they hosted the meeting because if there was no peace in Sierra Leone then Liberians would not have peace either. The Witness could not say whether Charles Taylor had any interest in Sierra Leone.
The Prosecution asked whether there was a military operation between Liberia and Sierra Leone. The Witness responded that there was, headed by Witness 7. The purpose of the mission was for the RUF to protect a route that the peace delegation would use. The Prosecution asked whether the delegation went to Liberia before or after the military operation. The Witness stated that the delegation went before because the LURD rebels were advancing, and the only way to halt their advance was to send military men there. When the delegates went, they met Liberian military men there. The Prosecution asked why the RUF needed to clear the road after the delegation had already passed. The Witness responded that after the delegation had gone there were a lot of “disturbances” for their passage on the way back, so they had to fly the delegates back to the Sierra Leone border. The Prosecution asked whether the delegation’s travels to Liberia and Nigeria were that one and the same trip, and the Witness said yes. Then, the Witness confirmed that Witness 20 was one of the delegates. The Prosecution detailed that earlier that day in trial, Witness 20 had testified that the delegation stopped in Liberia but did not negotiate in Liberia. The Witness stated that the fact that the Liberian government knew about the delegation being on Liberian soil made that part of the negotiation. The Witness asserted that allowing the delegation into the country meant that there was some form of negotiation taking place.
The Prosecution asked what command Issa Sesay had given the Witness in 2001 when he was asked to go to Liberia. The Witness explained that the LURD forces were advancing so he went with 70 men to stop them. He did not fight the LURD with Taylor’s rebels, as they were there for 2 or 3 days and then returned. The Witness explained that his soldiers did fight, however, because there was no food and so the men were directed to a village in search of food. When the soldiers went, the commanders heard heavy firing, and when the men returned, they told the Witness and Witness 3 that they had fought with LURD rebels who were also looking for food. The firing of the LURD rebels overpowered the RUF soldiers. The Witness explained that between him and Witness 3, the latter was the commander. They were in Mendekoma, near Foya, which was near the area the men went for food. The Prosecution asked the Witness to clarify whether he was sure if his men had committed any atrocities or not. The Witness responded that he couldn’t say; when they returned, he saw smoke, but could not tell who was directly responsible for it. The Prosecution told the Witness that when the police had asked him if the RUF had burned any villages for food, the Witness had said one village. The Witness denied the statement, asserting that he had said that they fought in a village where they went in search of food.
The Prosecution asked the Witness whether people called his brother Angel Gabriel, and he said no, and that he had never heard anyone call him that name. The Prosecution stated that when the police had interviewed the Witness, he had said that he had not heard the name, but then, after being asked again, the Witness had said that he didn’t understand why people call his brother Angel Gabriel. The Witness said he remembered this discussion. The Prosecution asked the Witness if he remembered why he had said that he did not know why people call his brother Angel Gabriel, and the Witness responded that no, he did not say so.
The Prosecution asked the Witness when he last saw his brother. The Witness said it was in 2007, when the Defendant was living at Brookfield’s Nurse Horton Drive in a house that was well furnished and catered for by the Special Court. He explained that his brother was under special protection but that they met outside, and every 3 months the special court gave his brother a vehicle to visit his family. He visited Bo and was under special protection. In Freetown, Gabriel Massaquoi lived in the house with his ex-wife, children, and FNM-178. The Prosecution asked whether the Witness knew FNM-178. The Witness said yes, he is a family member, and he was living in the house as it was part of the arrangement that he should live with the Defendant as a family member to assist in chores. The Prosecution asked why the Witness hadn’t lived with the Defendant, and the Witness responded that he is matured and couldn’t leave his family to do so. FNM-178 was a member of the RUF, but the Witness couldn’t remember the last time that he saw him. When the Prosecution asked if anyone had contacted the Witness from Finland pertaining to the case, he said no, only when the Prosecution contacted him.
The Prosecution asked if Gibril Massaquoi had gone to Liberia, apart from the time with the peace delegation. The Witness said that his brother never went to Liberia again after returning from the peace process. The Prosecution pointed out that the Defendant testified to going to Liberia in the summer of 2001 and asked if the Witness knew of Gibril Massaquoi going to Liberia in 2001. The Witness replied that he did, in October, to lead the peace delegation, involving the government of Sierra Leone, the RUF and the international community. They met in Nigeria. The Witness was not aware of Massaquoi going to Liberia after that. He detailed that the Defendant took more than a month before he returned from Nigeria through Liberia.
The Prosecution said they would play a tape of the Witness’ police interview, in which the Witness had said that he didn’t know why people called the Defendant Angel Gabriel. The Witness said he had heard the tape but that he had only said that he didn’t know about the name. The Witness then confirmed that he had never heard anybody call his brother Angel Gabriel and denied talking to the investigators Massaquoi having soldiers under his control after the 87 of May.
The Prosecution played the tape of the Witness’ police interview. The Witness admitted that he said so but during that time the peace process was fragile and the RUF was under pressure to go back to the Lomé Peace Agreement but there was no fighting. He confirmed that there were troops with Massaquoi.
The Prosecution turned to asking about the village fire in Liberia. The Witness repeated that the men who went searching for food exchanged fire with the LURD rebels. They were foreigners and didn’t know the terrain, so they went with the other rebels they met there. The Prosecution asked if the Witness was aware of RUF troops, not necessarily the Witness’ troops, burning villages in Liberia. The Witness answered no. The Witness was not aware of any buildings burnt by the RUF. The Prosecution stated that in his interview, the Witness had said yes. The Witness responded that he had heard the recording and agreed but had not been referring to the troops on the RUF side. The Prosecution stated that the Witness had said that the RUF burnt the kitchen where the food was kept. The Witness denied the statement, stating that he had not said it was the RUF, as they would have brought the food to the commanders and not hauled the food in the bush and burned the kitchen. He said it was improbable that hungry soldiers looking for food would have left it in the bush.
The Defense Questions the Witness
The Defense asked the Witness when the Abuja agreement was signed, and the Witness responded that it was November 10, 2000. The Defense asked the Witness to confirm the year, as the Witness had previously stated to the Prosecution that it was 2001. The Witness confirmed that 2000 was correct and said that when the Prosecution was asking about the Defendant going to Liberia, he was talking about the year 2000. The Defense asked if the Defendant was present at the village and for the burning of the food, and the Witness said no. The Defense then referred to the Witness’ statement that in 2001, the Defendant and his troops were in Lunsar and had not yet disarmed and asked if the Defendant gave any commands during that time. The Witness responded that he did not, as he was a diplomat by then.
The Defense asked the Witness if he knew if the LURD occupied the route he had mentioned from Lofa to Monrovia. The Witness explained that the road was the LURD’s territory. The LURD troops advancing to occupy that area had caused Issa Sesay to order a deployment to the area to protect the returning delegates from the peace mission, assuming they would use that route. It was rough in terms of armed battle. The delegates ended up choosing to land somewhere on the Sierra Leonean border instead. The Defense asked whether this took place at the time of the Abuja peace process ceasefire, and the Witness said yes, the peace process was on, and the 30 days ceasefire had been signed. The Witness clarified that it was not a mission to clear the road in the sense that the delegates travelled and there was fighting at the border. Rather, Witness 7 was sent in November to occupy the road that the delegates travelled on. The Defense said that the Court heard Witness 20 earlier that day saying that the delegation went to Liberia in early November, while the Defendant had said that it was in October. The Witness replied that it was September when the meeting was held in Kono, and from there the delegation travelled in October.
The Defense asked if the Witness had misunderstood the question when the police asked him about Angel Gabriel. The Witness stated that it was the police who misunderstood, as he told them that he has never heard the name Angel Gabriel, adding that he had paused because the name was strange to him. The Defense asked if the Witness understood the question now, and the Witness reiterated that the question had been posed to him and he had said no.
The session ended.