'I need three months to scrutinise ICC evidence'

Lawyer Paul Gicheru during an interview with The Standard. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]

Lawyer Paul Gicheru says that he requires at least three months to interrogate evidence produced by the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor.

His lawyer Michael Karvanas yesterday told Trial Chamber III judge Maria Samba that owing to the number of documents being supplied by the prosecution and the lean number of his team, he does not expect to take less than three months.

He, however, termed the case as simple, saying they will only rely on the documents produced in court and cross-examination of the witnesses produced in court.

“We are at a disadvantage. Three months is not an unusual time,” said Karvanas during the status conference held at The Hague.

“I have been in this business for about 40 years and mine will be a page and a half that includes the signature line. This is not a very complicated case.”

Last month, Justice Samba ordered Gicheru and the prosecution to file submissions on when the trial might start. At the same time, they were required to provide information on anticipated evidence.

The judge also directed them to disclose issues they have a consensus on, and the parties to exchange outstanding material in their possession.

Gicheru was also required to reveal whether he would call witnesses and provide an estimated length of the opening statement.

At the same time, the prosecution revealed that it may introduce a new witness.

Deputy Prosecutor James Stewart told the court that they have set a date to meet and interview the witness in order to determine to take the evidence on board. He said that the prosecution also wants to ascertain whether the witness will agree to co-operate or not.

If the witness is taken on board, it means Gicheru will face seven witnesses. So far, the prosecution has disclosed that it will produce P-0800 and P-0613, P-0536, P-0341, P-0274, and P-0516.

“We have not yet decided whether to call the new witness. It will depend on whether they will co-operate. There is a date planned to meet this witness but we'll not disclose the date as it may lead to identification of witnesses,” Stewart argued.

The prosecutor said they could submit all documents to Gicheru by December.

The prosecution says it has 43,524 items of evidence against Gicheru. Stewart says the evidence gathered is contained in 221,110 pages. He told the judge that they are continuing to review more documents and had submitted additional 77 incriminating documents.

Stewart is of the view that from the total number of pages, the prosecution has identified a pool of 8,639 items that are in 97,843 pages as potentially implicating Gicheru.

The prosecution has also disclosed that it will use pseudonyms and distort witnesses’ voices for their protection.

The prosecution says it will require 57 hours and estimates that it will take 122 hours for the judge to conclude the case. Stewart says this is approximately 27 court days.

It emerged that the trial might start in March next year.

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