Site visits

Notion(s) Filing Case
Appeal Judgement - 27.11.2007 SIMBA Aloys
(ICTR-01-76-A)

16. The Appeals Chamber notes that “managerial decisions, such as whether to make a site visit, are left to the discretion of the Trial Chamber”.[1] In the instant case, the Appellant does not demonstrate that the Trial Chamber abused its discretion in finding that site visits were unnecessary to assess the credibility of the evidence and the charges against the Appellant. […]

[1] Galić Appeal Judgement, para. 50.

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Notion(s) Filing Case
Appeal Judgement - 18.03.2010 BIKINDI Simon
(ICTR-01-72-A)

97. The Appeals Chamber has not considered the video recording of the site visit, as it is not part of the record. The Appeals Chamber strongly emphasises that a detailed record of a Trial Chamber’s site visit should normally be maintained[1] and form part of the trial record. The purpose of a site visit is to assist a Trial Chamber in its determination of the issues, and therefore it is incumbent upon the Trial Chamber to ensure that the parties are able to review effectively any findings made by the Trial Chamber in reliance on observations made during the site visit.[2]

[1] See Zigiranyirazo Appeal Judgement, para. 36; Karera Appeal Judgement, para. 50.

[2] Karera Appeal Judgement, para. 50. 

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Notion(s) Filing Case
Appeal Judgement - 16.11.2009 ZIGIRANYIRAZO Protais
(ICTR-01-73-A)

36. As a preliminary matter, the Appeals Chamber has previously stated that a detailed record of a Trial Chamber’s site visit should normally be maintained.[1] The Appeals Chamber observes, however, that Zigiranyirazo did not object at trial to the lack of record. In addition, there appears to be no dispute with respect to the itinerary and travel times taken by the Trial Chamber during its site visit. The absence of a record also did not prevent Zigiranyirazo from fully addressing issues arising from the site visit in his Defence Closing Brief. Consequently, the Appeals Chamber does not consider that the lack of a record of the site visit invalidated the verdict.

[1] Karera Appeal Judgement, para. 50.

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Notion(s) Filing Case
Appeal Judgement - 02.02.2009 KARERA François
(ICTR-01-74-A)

48. Turning to the Appellant’s contention that the Trial Chamber erred in law by failing to keep records from the site visit, the Appeals Chamber first notes that at no time during the trial proceedings did the Appellant object to the absence of such materials.[1] Moreover, the Appeals Chamber notes that the Trial Chamber considered the parties’ submissions on the observations made during the site visit in reaching its findings,[2] and explained how its observations affected the assessment of the evidence.[3] Therefore, the Appeals Chamber does not agree that, in relying on its observations, the Trial Chamber denied the Appellant the right to present a full defence and to be provided with a reasoned opinion. The Appeals Chamber emphasizes that detailed records of Trial Chamber’s site visits should normally be kept. The purpose of a site visit is to assist a Trial Chamber in its determination of the issues and therefore it is incumbent upon the Trial Chamber to ensure that the parties are able to effectively review any findings made by the Trial Chamber in reliance on observations made during the site visit.[4] The Appeals Chamber however finds that in this case the Appellant has not demonstrated that he was prejudiced by his inability to challenge the Trial Chamber’s observations and that the parties had the opportunity to make arguments based on their observations of the site visit in their closing arguments and closing briefs to which the Trial Chamber referred in its Judgement.[5]

[1] The Appeals Chamber observes that the Appellant consented without reservation to the site visit. See The Prosecutor v. François Karera, Case No. ICTR-2001-74-T, Defence Response to the Prosecutor’s Motion for a View (Locus in Quo) (Rules 4, 54, and 89 of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence), 12 May 2006.

[2] Trial Judgement [The Prosecutor v. François Karera, Case No. ICTR-2001-74-T, Judgement and Sentence, 7 December 2007, paras. 133, 159 (and fn. 217), 160 (and fn. 218), 161, 305. See also Prosecution Closing Brief [The Prosecutor v. François Karera, Case No. ICTR-2001-74-T, The Prosecutor’s Closing Brief, 10 November 2006 (confidential)], paras. 20, 24, 389, 418, 452, and fn. 414; Defence Closing Brief [The Prosecutor v. François Karera, Case No. ICTR-2001-74-T, Defence Closing Arguments, 10 November 2006 (confidential)], paras. 93, 111, 184, 235, fns 255-256, 451; T. 23 November 2006 pp. 7, 35, 38, 40, 41, 53.

[3] Trial Judgement, paras. 133, 159, 160, 161, 305.

[4] Such records may take different forms and it will depend on the circumstances of the specific case to deternine which form will be most appropriate.

[5] See Trial Judgement, paras. 133, 159, 161.

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Notion(s) Filing Case
Appeal Judgement - 09.10.2012 GATETE Jean Baptiste
(ICTR-00-61-A)

54. The Appeals Chamber recalls that the Trial Chamber has the discretion to decide whether a site visit is necessary or relevant in the assessment of evidence.[1] As such, the Appeals Chamber considers that the determination of the itinerary is also within the discretion of the Trial Chamber.

[1] Munyakazi Appeal Judgement, para. 76; Simba Appeal Judgement, para. 16, citing Galić Appeal Judgement, para. 50.

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