Nothing but the truth

It is a sun­ny day and I am stand­ing at the park­ing lot in front of the court in Nanyu­ki. Through the open door I see Fred­dy in the wit­ness stand. He ges­tures wild­ly and cuts through the air with an imag­i­nary pan­ga. A police offi­cer keeps me com­pa­ny. He real­izes that his lunch is going up in smoke, because the inter­roga­tor is tak­ing his time. Because I will tes­ti­fy about the same inci­dent after­wards, I am not allowed to lis­ten. Instead, I talk to the offi­cer about crime rates, full pris­ons and his son who stud­ies mathematics.


For Fred­dy and me it was the first time that we took part in a crim­i­nal tri­al. Of course we were famil­i­air with the pro­ce­dure, by means of all the crime tv series that have passed our eyes. But unlike the flash­ing detec­tive work and excit­ing action on the screen, real­i­ty seems just slow tor­ture. Per­haps this is why we watched 3 sea­sons of 24 dur­ing the past weeks.

Like in the Nether­lands, sus­pects are enti­tled to a lawyer. But the lawyers that are freely pro­vid­ed by the gov­ern­ment are not the best in their field. Their assis­tance is of lit­tle val­ue. Also, crim­i­nals gath­er a lot of legal knowl­edge dur­ing their career. This is also true for the two men who are sus­pect­ed of vio­lent­ly rob­bing us. They are no strangers to the police. In short, the sus­pects defend­ed them­selves and as such also inter­ro­gat­ed us.

Our tes­ti­mo­ny was only the first hear­ing, the full tri­al will be in Novem­ber when we are not here. This week­end we fly to the Nether­lands for a short vis­it, and then on to Mada­gas­car. How­ev­er inter­est­ing the theme of crim­i­nal­i­ty may be, I hope that for the time being I will have noth­ing to do with it…