22 December 2012

Kenya: Bensouda Asks for Delay in Disclosure of Witnesses

ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has asked the court to allow her to delay disclosure of the identities of seven witnesses in the case against William Ruto and Joshua Sang'.

The prosecutor wants to delay disclosure of the identities of the witnesses beyond the January 9 deadline. The Prosecution further seeks to redact any information that will identify the witnesses until full disclosure.

Bensouda also wants to be allowed to provide summaries or to withhold disclosure when redactions are insufficient to conceal some of the witnesses' identities.

For two of the witnesses, the prosecutor wants to be allowed to disclose their identities, 30 days before the trial against Ruto and Sang kicks off on April 10.

She then asks the Trial judges to allow her to disclose the identities of the other five witnesses, 45 days before they take the stand to give their testimonies.

"Each of these witnesses faces security risks that require delayed disclosure of their identities and redactions/summaries/temporary non‐disclosure (as appropriate) in order to protect their safety, physical and psychological wellbeing, dignity and privacy, as well as the integrity of the case," Bensouda told the court.

The prosecutor, without identifying Ruto or Sang, told the court that the witnesses were likelecy to be interfered with by one of the accused.

The Prosecution submits that it was unable to files details on three of the witnesses on November 5 because it was only after this date that "a change in circumstances occurred warranting the need for requesting the delayed disclosure" on their identities.

On September 27, in its Redaction Protocol Decision, the Chamber ruled that any request for a delay in disclosure of witness identities must be addressed on a case‐by‐case basis, and the scope of any redactions applied to identifying information should not exceed that which is strictly necessary to protect the identity of the witness.

"Each of the witnesses in question faces serious risks to his safety in Kenya if the Prosecution confirms his suspected cooperation with the Court. In the absence of appropriate protective measures, the disclosure of the identities of the witnesses in question unacceptably heightens the risk that they will be targeted for interference by the Accused," Bensouda said.

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