23 May 2012

Court Report Day 87 – 22 May 2012

After having declined an application to hear the Indian crew of the dhow Hudhud at the last hearing, the judge announced today that there will be a witness from India after all.

An Indian journalist, living in Germany had travelled to India and spoken to the crew of the Hudhud. He was planning to catch the next flight from India to Germany and appear in court on 23 May. The German federal police had already spoken to the journalist and the judge indicated that there might be video material.

Then the case manager of the youth court aid gave an additional report on the conduct of the three under-age accused. He had already given a report in December 2011, when it was believed that the trial would be finished by the end of the year. He described the three as 'nice and friendly' and said that they had integrated well into the youth facility, where they have been living since April this year. They attended a school for migrants and he had had conversations with them without the need for a translator. He said they should have been released earlier.

Finally, two decisions were announced regarding applications by the defence. The first one related to hearing the Dutch navy officer de Wind again to verify what the accused X had stated during his interview in Holland. The application was declined because the judge believed that de Wind would not be able to say what X had not told him.

The second application, to hear the Norwegian professor Stig Hansen for a second time to confirm what the other accused had said about X's name, his clan membership and his family, was also declined. The judge said that Hansen could only report on 'hearsay' and that it wasn't Hansen's job to do investigations. Earlier in the trial, Hansen had been presented as an authority on Somalia and his statements as an expert witness determined much of what the court knows about the conditions in Somalia.

Next trial date is Wednesday, 23 May, 9 am (later than usual because of the Indian witness).