Incentive to testify in favour of the accused

Notion(s) Filing Case
Appeal Judgement - 28.09.2011 SETAKO Ephrem

188. The Appeals Chamber recalls that it is primarily for the trier of fact to determine whether a particular witness may have an incentive to distort the truth.[1] However, the mere fact that the Defence witnesses lived or found refuge at Mukamira camp due to their relationships with soldiers does not in and of itself imply that they gave a tainted account in order to protect Setako from criminal responsibility. This Tribunal has considered that, under certain circumstances, the fact that a witness was saved by the accused may be relevant to the witness’s credibility assessment.[2] Setako does not appear to have played any role in the protection of the Defence witnesses. The trial record also does not reveal any other evidence that the Defence witnesses were biased in favour of Setako.[3]

189. Similarly, the fact that Witness NBO’s husband was related to an accused before this Tribunal does not necessarily indicate that she would have distorted her testimony to the benefit of Setako. In particular, the Appeals Chamber observes that her husband’s relative was not implicated in any charges concerning killings at Mukamira camp.

[1] Gacumbitsi Appeal Judgement, para. 71.

[2] See Kajelijeli Appeal Judgement, para. 19; Ndindabahizi Trial Judgement, paras. 321, 322, 336, 338, 343, 345 (rejecting the Prosecution’s argument that several Defence witnesses were biased in favour of the accused because he or his family saved their lives and the witnesses acknowledged that they owed the accused a debt of gratitude); Kajelijeli Trial Judgement, para. 223.

[3] The Appeals Chamber notes that the Defence witnesses were not asked during their testimony whether they knew each other. It will therefore not discuss this assertion made by Setako. 

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