NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 3 – The International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has asked trial judges in the Kenyan cases to give their defence teams up to the end of this month to decide on expert witnesses.
In a statement released on Wednesday, Bensouda said the prosecution had proposed to the defence, three areas of expert evidence.
“The Prosecution has proposed to Defence teams, social and political background expert and satellite imagery expert,” the statement indicated.
The prosecution has fronted Hervé Maupeu to be the social and political expert and Lars Bromley as the expert on satellite imagery.
We are in the process of identifying an expert on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD),”the statement said.
Bensouda said despite the communication, the two Kenyan defence teams have not given their views on the proposed experts but have instead asked for an extension to brainstorm on the experts.
One of her reasons for requesting for an extension is that most of the writings by Maupeu are in French which is an unfamiliar language for the defence teams.
“In accordance with the Chamber’s Order, the parties have conferred on these issues. However, no agreement has been reached to date. An extension of thirty days (until 30 November 2012) may assist the parties in reaching an agreement on all or some of the proposals,” Bensouda said.
The prosecution proposed Maupeu on October 17 to be the background expert and asked the defence teams to check and find out if he they are satisfied that he is well equipped with knowledge skills to understand the Kenyan cases.
The defence teams were also expected to gauge his expertise on issues involving their charges and decide if they were comfortable that he will add value to their cases.
“The Prosecution provided the Defence teams with proposed instructions for their consideration. The Prosecution also provided to the Defence the contacts it has had with Prof. Maupeu. These contacts were limited to discussing the prospect of him becoming an expert in the two Kenya cases, and exploring the extent of his knowledge on specific issues relevant to both cases,” the statement said.
However, according to the prosecution the defence teams have indicated that they do not require expert opinion on some of the proposed instructions since some of the instructions ‘are either included already in the agreed facts or can be the subject of testimony by fact witnesses.”
The defence teams have also asked for clarifications on areas that will touch on the conduct and liability of the accused to prevent the prosecution from using subjective opinion against them.
“Other proposed questions, in the Defence view, go to significant areas of the case that may involve the conduct and liability of the accused and which the Prosecution should seek to prove by means other than ‘highly subjective opinion evidence’. One specific question was deemed prejudicial and was opposed by Counsel for Mr. Sang,” the prosecutor’s statement indicated.
The statement is one of the important communications the ICC is making as it gets ready to beging the trials for William Ruto, Uhuru Kenyatta, Francis Muthaura and Joshua arap Sang scheduled for April 10 and 11 next year.