Saturday, 15 June 2013

Bensouda reveals five witnesses in Uhuru case

ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has finally revealed the identities of four witnesses in the case against President Kenyatta. FILEBy PETER LEFTIE
Posted  Friday, June 14   2013 at  20:50

ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has finally revealed the identities of four witnesses in the case against President Kenyatta.
The move appears to be in response to a request by President Kenyatta’s lawyers to have the case pushed from July 9 to January 2014 on grounds that they needed more time to investigate the credibility of some witnesses whose identities had not been disclosed.
In a communication to the trial chamber, Ms Bensouda said she had on Wednesday disclosed to Mr Kenyatta’s defence team the identities of witnesses 430, 494, 506 and 510.
“For the sake of completeness, the Prosecution disclosed Witness 494’s handwritten notes created during his interview with the Prosecution,” Ms Bensouda informed the Trial Chamber.
She also forwarded transcripts of interviews with a witness simply known as Witness 217 together with screening notes which had been concealed to protect the identity of witness 430.
“The effect of the above is that the defence now has un-redacted versions of the transcripts,” Ms Bensouda stated.
In his application to the trial judges, Mr Kenyatta had argued that his defence team still needed more time to investigate the “credibility and substantive allegations made by five prosecution witnesses whose identities and unredacted transcripts have still not been disclosed” to the defence.
He suggested that the trial be pushed to January next year but this has been opposed by the prosecutor who contends that it is not justified.
In the event that the trial chamber accedes to Mr Kenyatta’s request, the Prosecutor suggested that they set the start date to immediately after September 9 when the Court’s summer recess ends.
Deputy President William Ruto who also faces charges at the ICC successfully pushed for the postponement of his case from May 28 to September 10, a day after the Court reconvenes after the summer recess.
Ms Bensouda acknowledged that Mr Kenyatta was entitled to an adequate period to prepare but argued that an additional seven months would constitute “superfluous amounts of time.”
Adequate time
The Prosecutor noted that Mr Kenyatta had already been granted three additional months from the previous start date of April so he should be able to adequately prepare before July 9.
“The Defence bears the burden of justifying any additional time over and above that period. The seven points raised in the Adjournment Submission fail to satisfy that burden,” Ms Bensouda argued.

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