A witness who admitted to providing false information to investigators has requested that his new statement be kept confidential, even from defendant Thomas Lubanga.
“Confidentiality as regards the public, that is no problem,” said Catherine Mabille, Lubanga’s lead lawyer. “Confidentiality as regards the defense is impossible.”
The witness, identified by the number 15, confessed to judges on June 19 that much of his original statement to prosecution investigators had been fabricated
Presiding Judge Adrian Fulford then ruled that Witness 15 should provide the court with a fresh, truthful statement -this time in the presence of his own lawyer and lawyers for Lubanga.
Though it remains unclear if or when Witness 15 will return to testify, his lawyer requested today that the new statement be kept from Lubanga, citing security concerns.
Presiding Judge Adrian Fulford responded that Lubanga has already been privy to all of the information in Witness 15’s original statement.
“The witness would have been aware that his original statement had been served to the defense, so it is no secret that the accused knows his identity,” Fulford said.
In addition, Fulford said, only exceptional circumstances would warrant complete confidentiality. It was not “correct” for the judges to order that the statement be kept from the accused, especially since it was given in the presence of his lawyers, the judge said.
The court would, however, “take all necessary steps” to protect the witness and his family, Fulford said.
Meanwhile, the testimony of a demobilization center employee continued today in closed session. The proceedings will resume on Thursday, July 2, as tomorrow is a court holiday.
Do you think witnesses retracting and/or changing their testimonies may create a precendent and bar other witnesses to come forward further on in the trial proceedings?
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