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Democratic Republic of Congo
The ICC opened its investigation in the situation of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in 2004. Seven arrest warrants have been issued for war crimes and crimes against humanity against Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, Germain Katanga, Matthieu Ngudjolo Chui, Bosco Ntaganda, Sylvestre Mudacumura and Callixte Mbarushimana.
The situation in the DRC was previously assigned to Pre-Trial Chamber I, composed of Presiding Judge Sylvia Steiner, Judge Sanji Mmasenono Monageng, and Judge Cuno Tarfusser. The situation is currently assigned to Pre-Trial Chamber II, composed of Judge Cuno Tarfusser, Judge Hans-Peter Kaul, and Judge Ekaterina Trendafilova.
The government of the DRC formally referred the situation on 19 April 2004, requesting that the Prosecutor investigate potential crimes under the Court's jurisdiction were committed anywhere in the territory of the DRC since the entry into force of the Rome Statute, on 1 July 2002.
On 23 June 2004, after a thorough analysis of the situation in the DRC, especially in the eastern region of Ituri, the Prosecutor announced his decision to open the first investigation of the ICC.
On 17 March 2006, a first arrest warrant was publicly announced and unsealed concerning the situation in DRC for the leader of a political and military movement, the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC), Thomas Lubanga Dyilo. Lubanga was arrested and transferred to The Hague. On 20 March 2006, Thomas Lubanga Dyilo first appeared in Court before ICC Pre-Trial Chamber I. A three-week confirmation of Charges hearing in the Lubanga case was held in November 2006, and Pre-Trial Chamber I confirmed the charges on 29 January 2007. The Chamber found sufficient evidence to establish substantial grounds to believe that Lubanga is criminally responsible as a co-perpetrator for all three charges made against him for the period beginning September 2002, when the Force Patriotiques pour la Liberation du Congo (FPLC) was founded, and ending 13 August 2003. The Prosecutor of the ICC has charged Lubanga with three war crimes: 1) enlisting children under the age of fifteen; 2) conscripting children under the age of fifteen; and 3) using children under the age of fifteen to participate actively in hostilities.
From September 2007 to January 2008, ICC Trial Chamber I (composed of by Presiding Judge Adrian Fulford, Judge Elizabeth Odio Benito, Judge René Blattmann) held hearings in the Lubanga case in order to facilitate the preparation of the trial. On 13 March 2008, Trial Chamber I decided that the trial in the case of Thomas Lubanga Dyilo would begin on 23 June 2008.
On 13 June 2008, the Court announced a stay of the proceedings in the Lubanga case because the Prosecution was unable to make available potentially exculpatory materials. On 2 July 2008, Trial Chamber I issued an order granting unconditional release to Thomas Lubanga Dyilo. The Prosecution appealed the order which was given suspensive effect meaning that the accused shall not leave detention until the Appeals Chamber has resolved the issue.
On 21 October 2008, the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) ordered the Trial Chamber to reconsider its decision to release Thomas Lubanga Dyilo taking into account all relevant factors. The Appeals Chamber did agree with the Trial Chamber’s June decision to stay the trial because of the inability, at that time, of the prosecutor to disclose certain information due to confidentiality agreements with the UN and other information providers. The Appeals Chamber confirmed that it is up to the Trial Chamber to resume the trial whenever it considers that a fair trial is possible.
On 18 November 2008, Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court announced its decision to lift the stay of the proceedings in the Lubanga case as the reasons for imposing the stay "have fallen away". The Judges announced the trial would start on 26 January 2009. Trial Chamber I also decided not to grant the release or provisional release of Lubanga.
On 26 January 2009, the trial in the case against Thomas Lubanga Dyilo opened in The Hague. The leader of the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC) is accused of enlisting and conscripting child soldiers to participate actively in hostilities. The Prosecution, the Defence, the Registry and 8 Legal Representatives of Victims representing 93 victims are participating in trial hearings.
Trial proceedings were stayed again from July to October 2010. On 8 October 2010, the Appeals Chamber reversed Trial Chamber I’s decisions to stay proceedings and to release Thomas Lubanga Dyilo. The trial resumed but was again put on hold for 6 weeks in early 2011 due to various challenges brought by the defense, in particular regarding the disclosure of the identity of witnesses and participating victims. On 23 February 2011, Trial Chamber I rejected the defense’s application for a stay of proceedings, and the trial resumed on 21 March 2011.
On 25 and 26 August 2011, the closing statements took place before TC I. The Prosecution and the Defence presented their final arguments. The legal representatives of victims also made statements at the final hearings. A total of 129 victims were authorized to participate during the trial. Through their legal representative, these victims expressed their position on matters heard before the chamber and were authorized to examine witnesses on specific issues. On 15 December 2011, TC I decided it will first issue the authoritative version of the judgment in English in the case, with the French translation to follow a number of weeks later.
In a public hearing on 14 March 2012, TC I delivered a guilty verdict against Lubanga. He was found guilty of having committed the war crimes of enlisting and conscripting children under the age of 15 years and using them to participate actively in hostilities in the DRC between September 2002 and August 2003. Judges will consider the appropriate sentence to be imposed in the coming months. Lubanga’s defense has the right to appeal the decision.
On 13 June, TC I heard aggravating and mitigating factors to determine the sentence to be imposed. The prosecutor has requested a 30 year sentence, or 20 years should Lubanga submit a genuine apology and commit to working to prevent future crimes and promote peace.
On 10 July, TC I sentenced Thomas Lubanga Dyilo to a total period of 14 years of imprisonment.
On 7 August, ICC judges issued a decision on the principles that will lead to the first award of reparations to victims of crimes under the Court’s jurisdiction. The ICC Trust Fund for Victims is to collect reparations proposals from the victims of Lubanga’s crimes, which will then be approved by the Chamber.
On 3 October 2012, Thomas Lubanga appealed both the guilty verdict and sentence handed down by ICC judges during his trial, asking for an acquittal and annulment, or a reduction, of the 14-year sentence. The ICC prosecutor appealed for the sentence to be revised upwards. Meanwhile, all parties and participants, as well as the Trust Fund for Victims, submitted observations on reparations proceedings in the case.
Lubanga has requested that the ICC President Judge Sang-Hyun Song be removed from the Chamber handling the appeal against his conviction and sentencing.
KATANGA – NGUDJOLO CHUI CASE
The trial against Congolese warlords Germain Katanga and Matthieu Ngudjolo Chui which opened on 24 November 2009 is ICC's second trial. Katanga and Ngudjolo are accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed in the village of Bogoro in the Ituri district of eastern DRC from January to March 2003.
On 18 October 2007, a warrant of arrest listing nine counts of war crimes and four counts of crimes against humanity in the Ituri district of eastern DRC was unsealed for Germain Katanga, alleged commander of the Force de résistance patriotique en Ituri (FRPI). Alleged acts include murder or willful killing, inhumane acts, sexual slavery, rape, cruel or inhuman treatment, using children to participate actively in hostilities, outrages upon personal dignity, intentional attack against the civilian population, pillaging and destruction of property. The arrest warrant had been issued on 2 July but made public on 18 October 2007. Katanga was surrendered by the DRC authorities and transferred to the ICC on 17 October 2007. His Initial appearance of Germain Katanga took place on 22 October 2007 at the ICC premises in The Hague.
On 7 February 2008, an arrest listing similar war crimes and crimes against humanity was unsealed for Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui, a Congolese national and alleged former leader of the National integrationist Front (FNI) and a Colonel in the National Army of the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo [Forces armées de la RDC/ Armed Forces of the DRC] (FARDC). The warrant had been issued on 6 July 2007 but made public on 7 February 2008. Ngudjolo Chui was surrendered by the DRC authorities and transferred to The Hague on 7 February 2008. He appeared for the first time before ICC Pre-Trial Chamber I on 11 February 2008.
On 10 March 2008 Pre-Trial Chamber I decided to join the Katanga and the Ngudjolo Chui cases as the two defendants were prosecuted for the same crimes
Initially scheduled on 28 February 2008 and then on 21 May 2008, the hearing was postponed twice by the Chamber to afford more preparation time to the parties involved. From 27 June to 18 July 2008, ICC Pre-Trial Chamber I held a confirmation of charges hearing in the case against Germain Katanga and Matthieu Ngudjolo Chui. Germain Katanga was represented by David Hooper and Matthieu Ngudjolo Chui by Jean Pierre Kilenda Kakengi Basila. Fifty-seven victims participated in the hearing through their legal representatives, Carine Bapita Buyagandu, Joseph Keta, Jean Louis Gilissen, Franck Mulenda and Hervé Diakiese.
On 26 September 2008, ICC Pre-Trial Chamber I sent the case against Germain Katanga and Matthieu Ngudjolo Chui to trial, by confirming all but three of the alleged charges. Pre-trial judges confirmed seven counts of war crimes and three counts of crimes against humanity. They found insufficient evidence to try Katanga and Ngudjolo for inhuman treatment, outrages upon personal dignity and inhumane acts. In a decision issued on March 27, 2009 the Trial Chamber II set the commencement of the trial in the case of The Prosecutor v. Germain Katanga and Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui for 24 September 2009. On 31st August 2009, ICC Trial Chamber II decided to postpone the commencement of the trial to 24 November 2009.
On 8 December 2010, the prosecution completed presenting its case, following which the legal representatives for victims presented two witnesses. The defense began presenting its case on 24 March 2011.
On 15 August 2011, the defense of Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui began to present its evidence before TC II. Eight witnesses were called by the defense of Ngudjolo Chui, who also testified in his own defense from 8 November 2011. On 27 September 2011, Germain Katanga also testified before TC II in his own defense. Closing arguments in the case are expected in early 2012.
On 15-23 May 2012 closing oral statements were given by the prosecutor, the defense teams and participating victims. The judges will now determine the verdict. Some 366 victims participated during the proceedings, several of whom are former child soldiers.
On 21 November 2012, ICC judges decided to separate the two cases as the mode of criminally liability with which Katanga is charged may be subject to a legal modification by the judges, and announced that the verdict against Ngudjolo Chui would be delivered on 18 December 2012. A verdict in the case against Katanga will be delivered at a later stage.
Katanga case suspended due to appeal
On 16 January, the Appeals Chamber suspended the trial of Germain Katanga in order to decide on a defense appeal against a TC II decision to consider a change to his al¬leged criminal responsibility. Trial judges may re-characterise Katanga’s alleged responsibility to contributing to war crimes and crimes against humanity by a group acting with a common purpose. The Prosecutor had charged Katanga with committing the crimes indirectly (using others to carry out the crimes).
Ngudjolo Chui applies for asylum
Former ICC suspect Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui is being held in an asylum detention center while his application for asylum in the Netherlands is being processed. On 21 December 2012, he was released from ICC custody and handed to Dutch authorities to be repatriated to the DRC. However, Ngudjolo indicated that it would be unsafe for him to return to the DRC and made an asylum application. His defense has requested the Appeals Cham¬ber to order the Netherlands to hand him back to the ICC pending the outcome of the prosecution’s appeal of the decision to acquit him late last year.
On 29 April 2008, Pre-Trial Chamber I unsealed an arrest warrant against Bosco Ntaganda, alleged former Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Forces Patriotiques pour la Libération du Congo (FPLC), and alleged current Chief of Staff of the Congrès national pour la défense du people (CNDP) armed group, active in North Kivu in the DRC. The arrest warrant lists three war crimes: 1) the enlistment of children under the age of fifteen; 2) the conscription of children under the age of fifteen; and 3) using children under the age of fifteen to participate actively in hostilities. This is the fourth arrest warrant unsealed within the context of the DRC situation.
In April 2012, Ntaganda and several others reportedly led a mutiny and created a new rebel group—‘M23’—which led to renewed conflict in eastern DRC. A split in this group is reported to have led to Ntaganda and his supporters fleeing to Rwanda.
On 13 July 2012, Pre-Trial Chamber II issued a second warrant of arrest for Bosco Ntaganda following the Office of the Prosecutor’s 14 May 2012 request. The additional charges in the second arrest warrant include the crimes against humanity of murder, persecution based on ethnic grounds and rape/sexual slavery, as well as the war crimes of intentional attacks against civilians, murder, rape/sexual slavery and pillaging allegedly committed from September 2002 to September 2003 in Ituri, DRC.
On 18 March 2013, Ntaganda presented himself to the United States embassy in Kigali, Rwanda and asked to be transferred to ICC custody. He was then flown to the Netherlands, escorted by an ICC delegation. The Coalition had been calling for his arrest for many years.
On 26 March 2013, Ntaganda made his initial appearance before PTC II. During the hearing, Presiding Judge Ekaterina Trendafilova verified his identity and ensured that he was clearly informed of the charges brought against him and of his rights under the Rome Statute. The date of 23 September 2013 was set for the opening of the confirmation of charges hearing, during which judges will decide whether there is sufficient evidence to move the case to trial.
On 11 October 2010, Callixte Mbarushimana—Executive Secretary of the Forces Démocratiques pour la Libération du Rwanda (FDLR)—was arrested by the French authorities pursuant to an ICC arrest warrant for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Kivu Provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Alleged crimes include murder, torture, rape, inhumane acts, persecution, attacks against the civilian population, destruction of property and inhuman treatment.
On 25 January 2011, Mbarushimana was transferred to the ICC. He made his first appearance in Court on 28 January 2011, during which the confirmation of charges hearing was scheduled for 4 July 2011. However, on 31 May 2011, PTC I decided at the request of the Prosecution, to postpone the commencement of the confirmation of charges hearing in the case to 17 August 2011. On 19 May 2011, PTC I refused to grant Mbarushimana interim release.
For the second time, PTC I postponed the confirmation of charges hearing due to a number of pending disclosure and translation issues. The hearing was rescheduled for 16 to 21 September 2011.
On 16-21 September 2011, the confirmation of charges hearing in the case against Mbarushimana was held before PTC I to determine whether it should move to trial. On 16 December 2011, PTC I declined to confirm the charges of alleged crimes against humanity and war crimes against Mbarushimana and ordered his release. A majority of judges found that there was insufficient evidence to move the case to trial. On 23 December 2011, Mbarushimana was released on French territory, from where he was originally arrested and transferred to the ICC.On 1 March, PTC I granted the OTP leave to appeal the 16 December 2011 decision declining to confirm charges against Mbarushimana, on three issues regarding the standard of proof applied in the confirmation decision, the proper interpretation of scope and nature of a confirmation hearing and the issue of the mode of liability under 25(3)(d) of the Rome Statute.
On 30 May, the Appeals Chamber dismissed the OTP appeal against the 16 December 2011 decision by PTC I not to confirm charges against Callixte Mbarushimana.
On 15 May 2012, the OTP requested an arrest warrant for Sylvestre Mudacumura, supreme commander of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR). Mudacumura is accused of nine counts of war crimes including attack against a civilian population, murder or willful killing, mutilation, cruel treatment, rape, torture, destruction of property, pillaging and outrage upon personal dignity, allegedly committed between 20 January 2009 and the end of September 2010 in north and south Kivu provinces, DRC.
On 31 May, PTC II rejected an OTP request for an arrest warrant against Sylvestre Mudacumura, supreme commander of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, for alleged crimes against humanity and war crimes in the Kivu provinces, eastern DRC. The OTP filed a new request for an arrest warrant on 13 June. A warrant of arrest was issued by Pre-Trial Chamber II on 13 July 2012 for alleged war crimes in the DRC in 2009–2010.
Court decisions concerning DRC can be found on the ICC's website.
06 Jan 2012
07 Dec 2011
11 Nov 2011
02 Nov 2011
15 Sept 2011
29 Aug 2011
24 June 2011