Monthly Archives: June 2016

Witness: Scientific Evidence Not Necessary to Prosecute Sexual Crimes

An international investigator and prosecutor told the Kenyan High Court that to prosecute sexual crimes it is not necessary to have medical or physical evidence to corroborate the testimony of survivors of such crimes.

Maxine Marcus said there are examples of cases in Guatemala, at the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL), and at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) where accused persons were convicted on the basis of the testimony of survivors and witnesses alone.

Marcus made these observations while testifying before the Kenyan High Court on May 25. She was an expert witness for petitioners who want the government to be held responsible for its failure to protect its citizens against sexual and gender-based crimes during the violence that erupted after the December 2007 presidential election.

The petitioners are eight victims of sexual and gender-based violence and three non-governmental organizations. They filed the case in February 2013.

In her May 25 testimony, Marcus said sometimes the only evidence available is the testimony of survivors of sexual violence and eyewitnesses. She said this to explain why medical evidence may not be necessary when investigating or prosecuting such crimes.

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