Charles Adeogun-Phillips
speaks on ...
the ethics of calling witnesses [KIN]


The most difficult point for me as lead counsel was having to make decisions based upon further re-, revelations that she makes to us. So she’s now told us her story and we’re thinking what are we going to do with it?
So they tell me about her story and I turn and I look at her and I say, “Well, are you willing to come to court to say that?” And she goes, “Well, I have a problem.” I’m like, “What is the problem?” “I never told my husband about it.” “You never told your husband; why not?” “Well if I told him, I wouldn’t have a husband today.”
So right there, I’m faced with an ethical dilemma. I have a good witness. I have a victim to a crime. I need to secure a conviction; she’s a convincing witness but then she’s posed a question to me which means that in essence, if I put her on that stand and I risk putting her on the stand and I know we have witness protection, and we, we have pseudonyms, and we have anonymous protections and other things.
But it’s still a decision that I have to take, as to whether or not I want to take the responsibility of this woman’s husband finding out what had happened to her, and risking her marriage at the expense of her testifying on behalf of Mr. Muhimana.
And those were some of the difficult challenges and decisions that one had to make in the field. In the end, I dropped her because I wasn’t sure that I wasn’t able to take on that responsibility personally.
To be able to say to this woman, “Well, if you haven’t told your husband this, I’m not going to risk bringing you to Arusha and risk the information leaking to your husband and you having to cope with the domestic situation that emanates from what you’re trying to do for humanity and for, for international criminal justice.” A typical example of a, a grueling day in the field.
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About this video

Country of Origin:
Nigeria / Great Britain
Interview Date:
November 6, 2008
Arusha, Tanzania
Lisa P. Nathan
Robert Utter
Max Andrews
Excerpt From:
Part 3
In December 2015, an error with the interviewee's surname and nationality was identified and corrected as follows: (1) surname changed from "Phillips" to "Adeogun-Phillips"; (2) nationality changed from "Great Britain" to "Nigeria/Great Britain."
Submitted By:
Voices from the Rwanda Tribunal team