20 witnesses lined up against Ocampo Six
Posted Monday, April 18 2011 at 22:00
- Prosecutor clashes with lawyers for the suspects over plans to edit evidence before releasing it to them
A glimpse of how the cases against the six post-election violence suspects will be handled emerged on Monday during a session to decide how the prosecutor will share evidence with the defence.
International Criminal Court Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said he will call 20 witnesses, 10 in each of the two cases.
He will also rely on 7,800 documents to build the cases against Deputy PM Uhuru Kenyatta, Civil Service boss Francis Muthaura, Postmaster-General Hussein Ali, MPs William Ruto and Henry Kosgey and radio presenter Joshua Sang.
Defence lawyers, on the other hand, said they will await the prosecutor’s evidence before deciding on the type and number of witnesses to call.
It also emerged that police had given evidence exonerating Mr Kenyatta, Mr Muthaura and Mr Ali.
The government did not object to this evidence being shared with defence lawyers.
But in presentations before Judge Ekaterina Trendafilova, the prosecutor expressed his intention to redact (partially conceal) an estimated 19,000 pages of evidence.
This, however, depends on the verdict of the court. The defence raised concern over the matter and asked that redactions be made to the minimum possible.
The prosecution and defence were making submissions during a status conference at The Hague before Judge Trendafilova, who is to make a calendar of the disclosure of evidence process.
The session with lawyers for Mr Ruto, Mr Kosgey and Mr Sang started at 10.10am (Kenyan time), while the meeting with lawyers of Mr Kenyatta, Mr Muthaura and Maj-Gen Ali started at 12.30pm.
The prosecution said the disclosure of redacted documents was meant to protect the witnesses in the Kenyan post-election violence cases.
“We wish to bring to Madam President’s attention there is limited capacity to protect individuals under the circumstance that we are operating. What the prosecution means by that statement is we are operating in a situation where the suspects remain in position of power, where witnesses frequently disappear or become uncooperative,” Mr Moreno-Ocampo’s representative said.
The prosecution called for witness protection before disclosure of evidence could take place. In the case against Mr Ruto, Mr Kosgey and Mr Sang, the prosecution said it had identified 606 documents made up of 11,000 pages that may have to be edited before they can be given to the defence.
In the case against Mr Kenyatta, Mr Muthaura and Mr Ali, the prosecution said that it had 542 documents comprising 9,397 pages that need editing before allowing the defence access.
In response, Mr David Hooper for Mr Ruto asked the Pre-Trial Chamber to ensure that the “redactions are kept to the minimum”.
He said while the defence was not opposed to redaction “there is nothing at the moment that prevents maximum disclosure and in due course if the protective measures are in place then the redactions can be lifted.”
Mr Kosgey’s lawyer George Oraro said: “We shall investigate and consider how many witness we can summon. The only proposition we can make for the moment is that — as the prosecution has indicated to call witnesses — we shall definitely call witnesses in rebuttal as it regards our client.”
Mr Sang, through lawyer Katwa Kigen, said they might call at least 15 witnesses.