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07-10.10.2019 – Continuation of witnesses’ hearings

On the first day, the Prosecution team called their 9th witness in an open court session. The witness appeared in a camouflage dressed in a long white dress like outfit and a heavy black sweater with a hood and sunglasses. The prosecution team requested court for the proceeding to be held in camera so as to ensure the security of the witness. They further requested the court to allow them to use pseudo name (C6), conceal the face and identity of the witness from the public. In requesting for the protective measures, the prosecution team relied on Rule 36(9) of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence of the Court that provides for protective measures that the Court can grant to protect a witness. The defence did not object to these measures and therefore, the court granted the request of the prosecution team. The public was later requested to leave the court room and the session continued in camera for the following two days.

Outside the court room, some members of the public were heard murmuring in dissatisfaction, as some of them had travelled long distance to come and attend the hearing. One of the persons who had come to attend the trial was quoted saying: “This trial has lost meaning. What is the essence of holding such a trial in camera? Nobody knows what is happening now in there, and we cannot trust what comes out of the trial.”

Such sentiments indicate a number of issues including lack of knowledge on the procedures and the implications of the same. As already observed, it further highlights the need to balance the rights of the victims against the need for public involvement.

The hearing has been adjourned to an unknown date.

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