Tag Archives: Amendment of DCC

Recent Court Documents in the 2 ICC Kenya Cases 3 October 2013

After the Prosecutor failed to get permission to alter the temporal scope of the charges against William Ruto, the Pre-Trial Chamber granted her leave to appeal on the following issue:

“Whether the Single Judge erred in interpreting the term ‘permission’ referred to in article 61(9) of the Statute so as to include factors relevant to the specificities of the case when exercising her discretion; and whether, consequently, in this particular case, the Single Judge abused her discretion in rejecting the Amendment Request”

Joshua Sang added Caroline Buisman as associate counsel on his legal team. She had previously been a defence lawyer at the Special Tribunal for Sierra Leone as well as the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

After the Common Legal Representative in the Ruto/Sang case raised concerns about the safety and security of victims he represents, the Trial Chamber asked the parties to respond to his report and also invited the Registry (including the Victims Participation and Reparations Section and the Victims and Witnesses Unit) to give its observations.

The Presidency of the ICC rejected the Ruto Defence request to vacate the decision of the plenary of judges (all the ICC judges). The plenary, by a majority, had refused to allow the trials to be moved to Tanzania or Kenya. The Presidency felt it had no authority under the statute to vacate the decision and, after consulting with the ICC judges present when the plenary decision was taken, it was clear that they too, saw no reason to revisit their decision.

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Recent Court Documents in the 2 ICC Kenya Cases 27 February 2013

The Defence teams replied to the Prosecution Observations on the Conduct of it’s investigations. This matter arises from the Prosecutor’s application to amend the DCC to include the allegation that some victims of PEV were shot dead. The defence teams argue that Prosecution investigations were unnecessarily protrated and wholly insufficient. They ask the court not to allow any new evidence to support allegations excluded by the Pre-trial chamber as this may create a precedent for the Prosecutor to begin a case with inadequate evidence, hoping once the court confirms the case to continue with investigations up until trial. The result, they feel, will be a continued erosion of defendants’ rights

This, in fact is what the defence teams allege has already occurred in the Kenya cases. They claim that the Prosecutor disclosed a fraction of its evidence for confirmation purposes and brought a completely different case to the upcoming trial. A final point in the defence submissions is the argument that allowing new evidence on the factual allegations will be unjust as the defence has little time before trial to investigate the proposed witness testimony. The defence closes by asking for any decision on this amendment matter to be delayed until the hearing of its application to have the case referred back to the Pre-Trial Chamber.

In the same case, the Trial Chamber rejected the Defence application for leave to appeal the decision on witness preparation. The defence worried that the witness preparation decision was impractical and would prejudice the defence in their preparation for trial. The Trial Chamber felt that the 3 issues on which the defence sought to appeal failed to present ‘identifiable issues’ for a decision or amounted to mere disagreements with the Trial Chamber.

Recent Court Documents in the 2 ICC Kenya Cases 09 February 2013

The Kenyatta/Muthaura defence teams have demanded that the Prosecutor produce a list of the lawyers who will be trying the case, and whether they belong to any national bar association and are in good standing with that bar. They also want a Prosecution code of ethics instituted by the Trial Chamber. The defence feels such a Code is important in order to regulate Prosecution investigations and dealings with witnesses, and encourage transparency in the trial proceedings. All Defence council appearing at the ICC must strictly adhere to the Code of Professional Conduct. This Code does not legally apply directly to the Prosecution.

The Prosecutor replied to the application by stating that neither a list of her lawyers nor information as to their ‘good standing’ before national bars would be helpful in ensuring ethical behaviour with respect to witnesses, since there is already a Witness Preparation protocol in place and avenues to monitor witness preparation as well as seek redress for violations of the protocol. She also questions whether a single trial chamber can institute a code of conduct for all  prosecuting lawyers in all cases before the ICC. The Prosecutor further points out that any misconduct by a prosecuting lawyer against the administration of justice in the case is adequately dealt with by sanctions under the Statute.

The VPRS filed its first periodic report on the Status of its activities, the Victims in the Kenya cases, and the activities of the Common Legal Representative. The VPRS states that it will be mapping victims, reviewing applications, training intermediaries and setting up a database of victims. During a November visit to Kenya, the VPRS officials travelled to Nakuru, Kakamega and Kisumu (this particular report is solely for the Kenyatta/Muthaura case). Some of the worries that victims expressed included whether only victims in this particular case can benefit from reparations, ensuring intermediaries are well trained, and ensuring the registration of genuine victims only.

In relation to the Sang/Ruto Case, the VPRS found similar issues; these particular victims met with the VPRS in Nakuru, Eldoret, Lugari, Turbo and Siaya. Victims were also concerned about tensions before the coming elections.

The Prosecutor in the Kenyatta/Muthaura case has applied to amend the Document Containing Charges (what we Kenyans call the Charge Sheet). I previously reported that the Trial Chamber ordered the Prosecutor to remove an allegation in the DCC that 6 people were shot dead in Naivasha. The prosecutor subsequently received evidence that shooting deaths did occur in the context of the attacks. She now wants to reinsert this allegation into the DCC without the need for additional hearings.

The Pre-Trial Chamber (single judge ruling) has asked for observations on the above request to amend. The rules require that the amendment request be addressed to the Pre-Trial Chamber rather than the Trial Chamber. One issue that concerns the Judge is whether, given that the OTP is supposed to have largely completed investigations by the Confirmations stage, it is appropriate for new evidence to be admitted and the DCC amended. The Chamber also wants clearer and fuller information and witness statements from the Prosecutor

Fergal Gaynor, the Common Legal Representative for Victims in the Kenyatta/Muthaura Case submitted his observations on the application to amend. Although not opposing the application, he argues that the victims he spoke to are worried about the delays in the case that may result from this amendment. 4 have already died, according to Gaynor, some from medical/psychological effects of the PEV. Therefore, the victims wish to see ‘justice in their lifetime’.

The Kenyatta/Muthaura defence teams also submitted their observations. They feel that there is no reason why the OTP could not collect this evidence prior to confirmation of charges- therefore Prosecutor is abusing the latitude to submit new evidence prior to trial. They also feel that the prolonged publicity of the case in Kenya has now tainted the witness pool, therefore the court should be careful admitting new witnesses. The defence teams close by complaining again about the failure of the OTP to diligently investigate and to clearly ‘solidify’ the case; instead adding new witnesses and new allegations. They worry that the time to trial is too short to investigate the new statements to be produced by the OTP.

Update 18 February 2013: The Prosecutor submitted her observations about the conduct of her investigations, in which she disagreed with the Pre-Trial chamber as to the scope of her obligations with respect to post-confirmation investigations. The Prosecutor believes that only questions for the Pre-Trial Chamber are the sufficiency of evidence to support the amendment and any undue prejudice it may cause the defence at this stage- not whether and to what her office continued investigations after the confirmation of charges.

Following the Hague trials of 4 Kenyans to the end. A blog by Archie Nyarango

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