Identification and recognition witnesses

Notion(s) Filing Case
Appeal Judgement - 04.12.2012 LUKIĆ & LUKIĆ

118. The Trial Chamber noted that there was a difference between “identification” witnesses, to whom the accused was “previously unknown by sight” and “recognition” witnesses who had prior knowledge of the accused enabling them to recognise the accused at the time of the alleged crime.[1] A witness’s prior knowledge of, or level of familiarity with, an accused is a relevant factor in the assessment of identification evidence. The Appeals Chamber considers that, as part of its reasoned opinion, a trial chamber should articulate the basis on which it was satisfied that the witness had prior knowledge of an accused and was therefore able to recognise that individual at the crime scene.[2]

119. The Appeals Chamber finds no error in the Trial Chamber having distinguished between “identification” and “recognition” witnesses. The Appeals Chamber further considers that the Trial Chamber rightly pointed out that a witness who has “acquired sufficient knowledge” of an accused, for example when a crime is committed over a long period of time, may be considered a “recognition” witness.[3] The Appeals Chamber finds that Milan Lukić and Sredoje Lukić have not shown that the Trial Chamber erred in law by distinguishing between “identification” and “recognition” witnesses.

[1] Trial Judgement, para. 31, referring to Tadić Trial Judgement, para. 545, Haradinaj et al. Trial Judgement, para. 29.

[2] Haradinaj et al. Appeal Judgement, para. 152, referring to Kupreškić et al. Appeal Judgement, para. 39.

[3] See Trial Judgement, para. 34.

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