The Office of The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court –ICC wants confirmation of charges against Dominic Ongwen, the former LRA commander postponed from the scheduled date of August 24, 2015 to January 31st 2016.
A copy of the public redacted version of the “Prosecution’s Application for Postponement of the Confirmation Hearing” dated 10 February 2015 indicates that the postponement is essential to allow the prosecutor perform five major statutory duties in relation to the case.
These include adequately reviewing all materials in the collection for the purposes of disclosure to the Defence, conducting security assessments of witnesses, implementing protective measures, seeking redaction’s of the warrants and translate core evidence into Acholi, the language spoken and understood by the suspect.
According to Fatou Bensouda, her office has 17,791 items; an equivalent of 94,620 pages, which will have to be reviewed at the rate of 50 pages per day per person with ten reviewers working full-time.
She says the disclosure review in this case may take up to one year.
Part of her concern is that victims and witnesses need to be contacted regarding the disclosure of their statements and to assess their security situation.
At a minimum, the Prosecution will have to re-contact and assess 32 core Prosecution witnesses. If any of the other approximately 140 witnesses interviewed by the Prosecution are relevant, they will also have to be contacted and their security assessed.
“Potential witnesses have to be located and interviewed, especially if previously interviewed witnesses are now unavailable. Large tranches of intercept evidence have to be further analyzed,” the application reads in part.
Maria Kamara Mabinty, the International Field Outreach Coordinator for Kenya and Uganda confirmed the development.
She says the office of the judge and the Defence Counsel of Dominic Ongwen received the application and did not make any definite decision on how to proceed with the application then.
According to Maria, August 24th is still the provisional date for confirmation of charges against Dominic Ongwen. She however says the office of the judge will consult the Defence Counsel and other parties on how to proceed with the application for postponement which might likely be heard on August 24, 2015.
Kamara says it is up to the office of the Pre –trail Chamber to decide when to hear the application in consultation with Helen Cisse, the Defence counsel of Dominic Ongwen, who she says are now studying the application.
According to Bensouda, no prejudice arises for the Defence because the fulfillments of these statutory duties does not constitute undue delay and are as important for the Defence as they are for the Prosecution. She said they are all aimed at providing comprehensive, timely disclosure to the Defence