, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 14 – Victims in the International Criminal Court (ICC) case against President Uhuru Kenyatta have raised concerns over a confidential application filed at the Kenyan High Court by his defence team last month.
Legal Representative in the Kenyatta case Fergal Gaynor in an application on Tuesday evening asked Trial Chamber V to compel Kenyatta’s defence lawyer Steven Kay to communicate to the court if the petition could lead to identification of protected witnesses and victims.
“the Legal Representative respectfully requests the Trial Chamber to order the defence; to inform the Trial Chamber, the Legal Representative and the Prosecution without delay whether it has communicated information which might lead to the identification of any victim of the crimes charged in the present case, or any protected witness, to any member of “the public”, as defined in the protocol (including to the High Court of Kenya or to any mobile telephone company in Kenya),” Gaynor indicated in his application.
He said it was important for Kenyatta’s lawyer to inform the court the contents of the petition to ensure victims and witnesses are not exposed to any further intimidations.
“It is imperative to minimise the possibility of any further witness intimidation in this case, and to ensure that the Trial Chamber’s directions regarding the disclosure of confidential information are properly observed. It would therefore be appropriate for the chamber to order the defence to clarify what information it has disclosed, so that the chamber is then fully informed of the position and can take whatever action it deems appropriate,” he explained.
He said he was also worried that Kay’s confidential petition in the High Court of Kenya seeking access to mobile telephone data relating to witnesses, may have leaked out their identities.
He said the victims he represents are concerned that the confidential petition may expose them hence discourage them from taking part in the trial against Kenyatta.
“The victims have reported to the Legal Representative their deep concern and anxiety about these reports, which they believe might be directed at undermining the participation of victims Bensouda is expected to rely on when the trial against Kenyatta opens on November 12, 2013,” he argued.
Gaynor complained to the court that Kenyatta’s lawyer had not heeded his request to be furnished with a copy of the confidential petition which he wanted to evaluate if it was in any way revealing identities of protected witnesses and victims.
He explained that he emailed Kay on August 1st requesting for a clarification on the matter and asked him to respond by August 8 of which he had not yet replied.
“The Legal Representative has not received a copy of the petition in question. He is therefore not yet aware if the defence has, in fact, disclosed the names or any other material which might identify any of the “dual status” victims, or any other protected witnesses in the present case, to the High Court of Kenya or to any mobile telephone company in Kenya,” he said.
Kay was last month allowed by the High Court of Kenya to present the petition in confidence and details of the petition are still private.