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contribution 19 - Lurquin Vincent

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Witnesses protection vs Public debate


transtlated version

First point, Mr. Stewart said something about disclosure by the Prosecutor, that is, exculpatory material. It is not up to the Prosecutor to know what material the Defence wants. Well but it is difficult for the Defence to state what they want if the Prosecutor says he does not know. So the discussion is very difficult, not only for coffee that is waiting.

The Chamber has decided in the Ndindiliyimana case that the Prosecutor failed in his obligations and forced the compelled the Prosecutor to disclose, but that it was coming late. Because even if the Prosecution witnesses have to be recalled, it would be difficult to cross examine them when they have already testified. So the fairness of the trial is affected by that problem.

So, second point, we said yesterday that the Tribunal was a baby, and I feel that Sylvie Becky is our baby because she is doing a lot of good work.

A trial without witnesses is impossible. Others have said I am going to be brief there are problems that the Defence faces when it is conducting its investigations. Some things may go unnoticed. But if you see a white man going into some rural area out there, everybody knows that you are there. And this is the hardest part a Defence lawyer faces. The simple fact that you are contacting someone, it exposes them to danger.

Now, that shows you the importance of protecting them, because people have died. People have been imprisoned. Because after the Tribunal, all of that has to be continued.

The third point was to Don Webster. Gacaca is not justice. We all know that. And today, this evening, tonight we will pay tribute to Alison Des Forges who witnessed the Gacaca, and she could have told you why the Tribunal does not follow the Gacaca example, not only in respect of witnesses, but there is no guarantee for the accused. And we should not be contaminated by such experiences.


Thank you.

Madam Becky, I think you are happy to have come.