Decisions on Supplementary Protocol Concerning Handling of Confidential Information concerning Victims (Ruto/Sang and Kenyatta/Muthaura)- this decision explains to the parties (Prosecution and Defence in the Ruto/Sang case) the process of contacting victims while respecting their confidentiality. The common legal representative of the victims is the key channel for any contact.
Decision on Updated Report on the Joint Instruction of Experts– Trial Chamber V directs the parties (Ruto/Sang) to continue seeking agreement on the use of joint expert reports at the trial. Use of joint experts helps prevent expensive and time-consuming ‘duels’ of experts between the prosecution and defence at trial. The parties in this case are currently negotiating joint experts on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Social and Political Background of the case and Satellite Imagery.
Request to present the views and concerns of the victims on their legal representation at the trial phase– while I won’t comment on the actual application by Representative Sureta Chana (Ruto/Sang case), I note that it comes hot on the heels of Morris Anyah’s decision to seek to withdraw his services as a common legal representative (or to make himself unavailable for nomination as such) in the Kenyatta/Muthaura case. There seems to be a pressing controversy within the court (between the Judges, Office of Public Counsel for the Victims, Registry and the Common Representatives) about the extent of the role of common victims representatives. Has there been adequate consultation and thought given to the views of the victims themselves? Lets see how the trial chamber addresses the issue.
Decision on defence request to change the place of the proceedings– The defence in the Kenyatta/Muthaura case wanted proceedings moved to either Arusha, Tz or to Kenya itself to minimise disruption to defendants and witnesses, promote judicial economy and generally minimise costs. This brief decision by the trial chamber simply tells them that they should file such an application for change of venue with the Presidency rather than the court. The rule governing this procedure is interesting, because it is not just the Kenya case trial chamber involved in the decision to move proceedings. First, the state itself must agree to host the ICC trial, then the judges in plenary must then vote by two-thirds to move the proceedings. This apparently means all the ICC judges, not just trial chamber V judges, will decide this matter if the defence pursues the change of venue.
An interesting side-note on PTSD: some organisations in the US have been campaigning to have it re-named ‘Post-combat stress injury’ to remove the stigma that soldiers (especially war veterans) attach to the term ‘disorder’. It is hoped that this will encourage more soldiers to seek treatment. At trial, it might be interesting to see how PTSD suffered by civilians in non-military conflicts may differ (if at all) to PTSD or Combat Stress Injuries suffered by soldiers and armed combatants.