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Gicheru's trial at The Hague to be limited to Kiswahili and English

By Kamau Muthoni | September 14th 2021

Lawyer Paul Gicheru. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]

It will be hard for the International Criminal Court to follow witnesses who do not speak Kenya’s national language. This is after the registry revealed that the prosecution and defense indicated that witnesses stick to English or Kiswahili.

The Hague-based court’s registry in its submission filed before the Trial Chamber III says that it will not be able to provide translation for any other language.

“The parties have informed the Registry that the witnesses they presently intend to call will testify either in English or Swahili. The Registry will be in a position to provide interpretation in these languages, using in-house resources as well as freelancers,” Marc Dubuisson submitted.

“For the sake of completeness, if other Kenyan spoken languages were to bespoken, the registry would not, at this time, be in a position to guarantee that resources would be available to meet interpretation needs.”

At the same time, the registry says that it will protect witnesses based on the level of risk reported to the registry. This will involve shifting the witnesses and their families out of the country. Lawyer Paul Gicheru will attend the status conference scheduled for September 24 virtually.

Trial Chamber III judge Miatta Maria Samba granted Gicheru’s request on the condition that he will link up with the court’s registry to ensure the session is not delayed.

“The chamber reminds the defense, that it is in the responsibility of the defense to liaise with the registry and ensure the attendance of the accused via video technology to avoid any delay,” ruled Justice Maria.

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