Bensouda discloses witnesses to Uhuru
ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has finally disclosed the identities of two crucial witnesses to deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta. Bensouda disclosed the names of witnesses number 11 and 12 to Uhuru on Wednesday last week and accused the deputy PM of trying to discredit them before the trials. She also disclosed the identity of a third witness called “witness 4”.
The prosecutor said the witness identities were disclosed after their security status was improved. The pretrial chamber had authorised the prosecution to with hold their identities over security concerns. Uhuru had moved to the trial chamber seeking to know the identities of the two and whether they would in fact be deployed against him at the April 2013 trial. “The Prosecution disclosed the identities of Witness 11 and 12 to the Defence on 1 August 2012, following the finalization of the witness security measures that enabled this information to be disclosed safely,” Bensouda told the judges a day after disclosing the identities of the two to Uhuru.
Bensouda however opposed Uhuru's request that she confirms whether she will produce the three witnesses at the trial. She said the judges had already ordered her to submit the final list of witnesses by January 9, 2013. She said Uhuru did not demonstrate that he will be prejudiced if the confirmation that these witnesses will be used at trial is not given now. She said the confirmation was also not necessary since their identities had been disclosed. “There is no legal basis for this request, which is in effect an unsupported request for reconsideration of Decision 451, which requires that the prosecution file its final witness list on 9 January 2013,” she said.
Bensouda said Uhuru's request that she discloses all exculpatory evidence relating to the three is now moot. She said she had informed Uhuru's legal team that she will prioritise the disclosure of all such materials. Further, the prosecutor said she has offered to disclose un-blacked out or lesser blacked out versions of the records of witness 11 and 12 interviews.
Uhuru had accused the two witnesses of attempting to extort him before crossing over to the prosecution. But Bensouda said such accusations are irrelevant at this stage and had been disposed off at the confirmation decision. “The pretrial chamber soundly rejected this theory, finding that “the evidence presented manifestly does not support [the defence] allegations” and does “not reveal any extortion or extortion attempt”, she said.
She said if the witnesses testify at trial, the judges will have ample opportunity to test the extortion theory and to asses the witnesses’ credibility against the full record of evidence. She said for now, the story is one‐sided, premature and improper. Uhuru is charged with five counts of crimes against humanity.