NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 23 – The Trial Chamber V(b) of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has allowed the prosecution’s request to add two more witnesses in the case against President Uhuru Kenyatta.
The judges also asked the prosecution to disclose to Kenyatta’s defence the identity of the new witnesses identified as P-66 and P-548.
“The prosecution is directed to disclose the identity of Witness P-548 and all related disclosable information to the defence forthwith. Accordingly, the chamber grants the prosecution’s request with respect to P-66. The prosecution is directed to disclose the identity of Witness 66 and all related disclosable information to the defence forthwith,” the judges stated.
The judges said they did not anticipate any ‘undue prejudice’ if Witness P-66 was added to the prosecution list. They further noted that the defence of Kenyatta will have adequate time to prepare and conduct investigations on the evidence of the witness before the start of the trial set for November 12.
The judges also said the defence had enough time to prepare for its defence against the evidence of P-548 and directed the prosecution to call P-66 and P-548 to appear in its last batch of witnesses testifying against Kenyatta.
“As to the potential prejudice to the defence, the chamber is not persuaded by the defence’s submissions that four months before the commencement of trial is required in order to investigate the proposed evidence of P-548. In particular, the chamber notes the prosecution’s undertaking that P-548 would be called later in the prosecution’s case,” the decision signed by Presiding Judge Kuniko Ozaki indicated.
The prosecution was supposed to have submitted its list of witnesses by January 9, 2013. However the judges said they allowed the prosecutor to add the witnesses after the deadline based on its explanations regarding the two witnesses.
“As regards P-548, the chamber notes that the prosecution did contact this person before the 9 January 2013 disclosure deadline, but failed to seek an extension of this deadline in order to interview P-548 and decide whether to add this person to its witness list. However, the chamber is persuaded from P-548’s witness statements and the prosecution’s submissions that much of the proposed evidence of P-548 is not duplicative with the evidence of other proposed witnesses, brings to light previously unknown facts which have a significant bearing on the case and would be of relevance in determining the questions at issue in this case,” the judges explained.
The chamber also granted the prosecution’s request to call Mungiki insiders to testify against Kenyatta but granted the defence request to be given adequate time to prepare its evidence.
The judges directed the prosecution to ensure that any Mungiki insiders should not be called before the end of January 2014.
They explained that since P-548’s evidence is linked to other Mungiki insider witnesses, the prosecution should also delay his/her evidence to give the defence time to prepare.
“Mindful however of the potential linkage between the proposed evidence of P-548 and that of other Mungiki insider witnesses, the chamber is prepared to grant the defence’s alternative request to ‘postpone the calling of all Mungiki witnesses until such time as the defence has been afforded adequate time to investigate the allegations made by Witness 548’,” the judges directed.
They further asserted; “the chamber considers ‘adequate’ time in the present circumstances to mean that the prosecution would delay calling any Mungiki witnesses at the beginning of its evidence presentation. The prosecution’s undertaking with respect to P-548, the prosecution is also directed not call any of its Mungiki witnesses until at least the end of January 2014.”
Trial Chamber V(b) additionally told the prosecutor to inform the court if any of the Mungiki witnesses will require changes in the security measures they were getting.
The prosecution made the request to add the two witnesses on September 13.