The 42nd day of public hearings resumed on Wednesday, 25ème August in Tampere, Finland. The hearing focused on new evidence presented by the Prosecution and Defense.
The Prosecution Presents New Evidence
The Prosecution presented the transcript of a phone call between GJRP 1 and FNM-241, recorded in Monrovia. The Prosecution explained that the transcript showed a contradiction between what FNM-241 had said in the phone call and in past hearings. The Defense pointed out that the recording had been made during preliminary investigations, which was unusual, and noted that GJRP 1 had testified against Mr. Massaquoi.
The Prosecution presented documentation to support their claim that Civitas Maxima paid the expenses relating to the trip concerned, including copies of receipts, and an interview report. The Prosecution’s point was to rebut the Defense’s claim that somebody was paid to testify against Mr. Massaquoi. The interview report revealed that the date that FNM-241 had previously mentioned was still accurate, according to the organization’s records. The Defense stated that while Attachment 14 showed clear evidence of payments, the receipts didn’t show if anything had been paid off the record. The Defense also noted that the interview report had not been signed, and the date of the report might be relevant.
The next piece the Prosecution presented was a series of WhatsApp messages between two Defense witnesses, FNM-201 and FNM-242. They were past messages, and somebody asked to share some names and contacts. In addition to these messages, two articles were sent between the Defense witnesses, before FNM-242’s hearing in preliminary investigations on the 14ème of May 2021. The first was a newspaper article that questioned a Prosecution witness, GJRP 1. The second article made an in-depth argument that the defendant, Mr. Massaquoi, could not have been in Liberia in 2002. The Prosecution argued that sending the messages and articles was an attempt to influence Defense Witness FNM-242.
The Defense said that the Prosecution was merely relying on personal witnesses, and that the Witness had already shown the Court the messages concerned, believing they were not problematic. The Prosecution said that the articles sent were also included as written evidence.
The Prosecution shared with the Court a list of cases in which the GJRP and Civitas Maxima had been involved. The Defense said it was public knowledge that the Central Criminal Police must acquire their own witnesses. The implications and impacts of collaboration across states was not known. Further, the Defense stated that, having received more material, they knew that the police could have been more involved. Thus, the Defense deemed Attachment 4 irrelevant, and said the Court should evaluate according to Finnish law.
The Prosecution presented the transcription of a YouTube Video, one part pertaining to Charles Taylor, and the other to Mr. Massaquoi. The Prosecution explained that this was comparison material, so the Court could compare what was said in the video versus in other instances.
The Defense pointed out that the video was public record, and the Court, Prosecution and Defense discussed the video’s evidentiary value.
The Prosecution pointed the Court to minutes 12:53 to 13:50 of the transcription, while a Court member translated what was said from English to Finnish. Then, the Court focused on minutes 17:40-19:39 of the material, in which the speaker, FNM-201, described Mr. Massaquoi as a very dangerous man, and described the speaker and Mr Massaquoi becoming friends, and drawing up the command structures of the RUF. The translator clarified that the first sentence spoken by FNM-201 in the clip was, “Gibril Massaquoi was the senior commander I talked with.” Then, the Court heard minutes 20:32-20:54.
The Prosecution said that this evidence supported the view that Mr. Massaquoi was in the interview [content missed by monitor].
The Defense stated that the Court should investigate who the speaker referred to when he said that he had contacts who were in contact with Mr. Massaquoi. Then, the Defense noted that the speaker in the video discussed events in Sierra Leone, and it was unclear whether he talked about Liberia, so the evidence was not relevant.
The Defense Presents New Evidence
The Defense explained that the document was relevant and important. The subject was ‘Witness Payment Policy – Payment made to TF1 046.’ It concerned Mr. Massaquoi’s witness protection. The document stated that Mr. Massaquoi was brought “under the protection of the Court 10ème March 2003 until 25ème Sept. 2005.” The Defense explained that the document, from 2005, ascertained Mr. Massaquoi being placed in a safehouse. The payments on the document were paid weekly to Mr. Massaquoi. The Defense pointed out that the date of the document, 2005, was significant.
The Prosecution stated that the document was only FNM-243’s own statements. Further, the document would not have as much evidentiary value as FNM-243’s upcoming oral hearing at the trial.
The Defense stated that FNM-243 was the head of Witness and Victim Security in 2005, and that the document hadn’t been drafted for Mr. Massaquoi’s benefit or for the Court, as it was an old document. The Judge urged the Defense to move on.
Confidential Interoffice Memorandum
The Defense presented an interoffice memorandum sent to FNM-244 from FNM-243 on August 6, 2005. The translator relayed the memorandum: “On Sunday 31 July there was as an incident at one of the Safe Houses where witness Goofy is housed… the witness is provided with 24 hour guard… the guard saw an intruder… guard was attacked and intruder tried to stab him with knife… the guard was able to save himself… and disarm the intruder… guard saw intruder run up the stairs to the witness and engage with him and shouted to witness to escape… I informed the SCSL security of the incident».
The Defense asked the Court to note the mention of a 24-hour guard, adding that after the incident, the guard was armed for 24 hours a day, and that the incident is evidence of the level of threat that Mr. Massaquoi was exposed to.
The Prosecution stated that the memorandum didn’t provide evidence of whether Mr. Massaquoi was able to leave the safehouse or not.
The Court discusses Future Witnesses
The Judge asked whether there would be more in-person witnesses. The Defense referred to ongoing investigations, but the Prosecution stated that the discussion should focus on the matters of the Court that day.
The Defense said there were many witnesses, and now that the Court was hearing new witnesses, the Court could not be sure that the witnesses were all discussing the same events. The Defense referenced the preliminary investigations, saying that this could be a problem, and events in Monrovia would be particularly tricky.
The Judge stated that the Court was interested in hearing whether additional witnesses would be named, because they wanted to hear all the witnesses in the next journey taken by the Court to Africa. The Defense responded that he couldn’t be sure but that he would do his best, and that he had a few things under investigation. The Judge said the Court would need more information if more witnesses were planned, and that the Court would ask the Police to push investigations to move faster. The Defense responded that he didn’t have any witnesses in mind.
The Court discussed billing and fees to do with prior trips, then concluded the day’s hearings.
Hearings will begin again in Monrovia, on the 13ème of September.