Mr. Kosiah, 45, is accused of murder, rape, recruiting child soldiers and a host of other crimes. Testifying to the three-judge panel, Mr. Kosiah denied recruiting any child soldiers for Ulimo. Lawyers for the seven victims who have brought the war crimes case against Mr. Kosiah allege he recruited a then-12-year-old known in the case as “Papa” to protect his identity.
Under questioning from victims’ lawyers Mr. Kosiah denied meeting Papa in 1992, as the victim alleges.
“Nobody in this gathering can tell me they love Papa more than me. I did not recruit Papa in ULIMO. The leadership decides who joins and who cannot join. I’m not responsible for that. I’m not the chief of staff, commander, deputy, I’m not the commanding general, I’m the front commander, I’m responsible for, what am I responsible for. If ULIMO recruited boys, its up to the leadership not on me.”
Mr. Kosiah said after he left his command of Todee, he took no civilians with him when he set off for Clay.
Mr. Kosiah claimed that the child soldier was with Omaru Kanneh, Kosiah’s immediate superior in Ulimo.
Mr. Kosiah insists that Papa was not with Ulimo at the time.
He explained that he met Papa at the Todee junction but never encouraged or seduced the child to join the rebels. “We spent about five months in Clay before going to Lofa. “Sometimes we were in Clay, another time Monrovia and then Bomi.”
Mr. Kosiah insisted that when he left Todee, he had no rank and was simply a floating officer. Mr. Kosiah recalled that he met General “Pepper and Salt” on Clay Street, who asked him to join him to Lofa since he never had any rank then. Following that discussion, Mr. Kosiah recalled that after a long discussion, he agreed to join Ulimo within a week.
Mr. Kosiah acknowledged that Papa had lived with him but only for his protection. “I couldn’t afford for him to die from hunger and I repeat I had no part to play in the witness’s decision to join ULIMO.”