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DRC: Confirmation of charges hearing in Mbarushimana case tomorrow; trial updates; news and opinion and audiovisual resources
15 Sept 2011
Please find below information about recent developments related to the International Criminal Court's (ICC) investigation in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
This message includes updates on the Mbarushimana case (I); trial updates (II) other developments (III); and audiovisual resources (IV).
Please take note of the Coalition's policy on situations before the ICC (below), which explicitly states that the CICC will not take a position on potential and current situations before the Court or situations under analysis. The Coalition, however, will continue to provide the most up-to-date information about the ICC.
I. MBARUSHIMANA CASE
A. CICC PRESS RELEASE
i. "ICC to Open Key Hearing in DRC Kivus Investigation," Coaltion for the ICC, 15 September 2011, http://iccnow.org/documents/Mbarushimana_Confirmation_Hearing_CICC_Media_advisory.pdf
WHAT: Tomorrow, 16 September 2011, the International Criminal Court (ICC) will open a key hearing in the case of The Prosecutor v. Callixte Mbarushimana for alleged crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in the Kivu provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The purpose of the confirmation of charges hearing is for judges of ICC Pre-Trial Chamber I (PTC I) to determine whether the case against Mbarushimana should be sent to trial.
WHO: Callixte Mbarushimana is a Rwandan citizen and executive secretary of the Forces Démocratiques pour la Libération du Rwanda—Forces Combattantes Abacunguzi (FDLR-FCA). Mbarushimana is suspected of being responsible for crimes against humanity (murder, torture, rape, persecution and inhumane acts) and war crimes (attacks against the civilian population, destruction of property, murder, torture, rape and inhuman treatment) allegedly committed in 2009 in the DRC.
HOW: During the hearing, the ICC prosecutor will be required to support his charges with sufficient evidence. The suspect will be given the chance to object to the accusations and challenge evidence through his defense counsels. One hundred and thirty victims will participate in proceedings through their legal representatives and present their perspectives and concerns. The chamber is expected to make a decision within 60 days after the hearing’s closing. Judges can confirm the charges, reject them or ask the prosecutor for additional information. If the judges of PTC I confirm the charges, the case will move forward to trial. PTC I is composed of Presiding Judge Judge Sanji Mmasenono Monageng, Judge Sylvia Steiner and Judge Cuno Tarfusser.
COMMENTS: “The opening of the confirmation hearings in the Mbarushimana case is an important step towards bringing justice to victims of the grave crimes committed in the Kivus over the past number of years,” said Byamungu Armel Luhiriri, the Africa Situations liaison for the Coalition for the International Criminal Court—a civil society network of more than 2,500 NGOs in 150 countries advocating for a fair, effective and independent ICC and improved access to justice for victims of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Several NGO members of the Coalition have long been calling on the ICC prosecutor to accelerate his investigation in the Kivu provinces of the DRC. “The opening of the Mbarushimana hearings is an important step in the fight against impunity in the region,” said Andre Kito, coordinator of the DRC Coalition for the ICC. “However, the ICC Registry should take steps to extend victims participation in the proceedings to those from the city of Shabunda (South Kivu), as serious crimes have also been committed there.”
A number of Coalition members have deplored the delays concerning the participation of victims in these proceedings. The decision authorizing 130 victims to present their views at the confirmation hearing was only rendered less than a week before the original hearing date of 16 August 2011. Hundreds of additional victims who had applied to participate in advance of Court-set deadlines in the Mbarushimana case were also left out due to time and resources constraints of the Registry, which was unable to process applications for some 470 victims by the deadline that had been set by the Chamber.
“For many victims in North and South Kivu, this was their opportunity to tell the Chamber, through their legal representatives, why this case is important for them and why it should proceed to trial stage,” said Carla Ferstman, director of the NGO REDRESS. “Now, victims are finally coming forward to engage with the Court but the Court is not ready or capable to deal with them. If this resource issue is not resolved, victim participation will become a meaningless paper promise.”
BACKGROUND: On 25 January 2011, Mbarushimana was transferred to the ICC detention center in The Hague, the Netherlands, following his arrest on 11 October 2010 by French authorities pursuant to an ICC arrest warrant issued under seal on 28 September 2010.
Kivu is a region in the northeast area of the DRC that borders Lake Kivu. North and South Kivu have long been sites of conflict involving a number of actors, including the Forces Démocratiques pour la Libération du Rwanda (FDLR), the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC), the Congrès National pour la Défense du Peuple (CNDP) and the MONUSCO.
The DRC is one of six situations under investigations by the ICC. It was formally referred to the Court by the DRC Government on 19 April 2004, and the prosecutor officially opened an investigation on 23 June 2004. Five arrest warrants have been issued in the DRC situation, and two trials are ongoing, the first for Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, and second for Germain Katanga and Matthieu Ngudjolo Chui.
B. CICC MEMBER PRESS RELEASE
i. “ICC: Hearing in Congo War Crimes Case, Confirmation of Charges Session for Rebel Leader Callixte Mbarushimana,” Human Rights Watch, 14 September 2011 http://www.coalitionfortheicc.org/documents/HRW_media_advisory.pdf
C. ICC PRESS RELEASE AND STATEMENTS
i. “Practical information for media on the opening of the confirmation of charges hearings in the case against Callixte Mbarushimana on 16 September,” ICC, 9 September 2011 http://www.icc-cpi.int/menus/icc/press and media/press releases/news and highlights/practical information for media on the opening of the confirmation of charges hearings in the case a?lan=en-GB
“The opening of the confirmation of charges hearings in the case The Prosecutor v. Callixte Mbarushimana will take place in Courtroom II, on Friday, 16 September 2011 at 09:00 (The Hague local time). The hearings are scheduled from 16 to 21 September, before Pre-Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court (ICC) composed of Judges Sanji Mmasenono Monageng (presiding), Sylvia Steiner and Cuno Tarfusser.
A confirmation of charges hearing is a public hearing during which the ICC’s Pre-Trial Chamber will decide whether or not to confirm all or any of the charges brought against the suspect by the Prosecutor and, if confirmed, to commit him for trial before a Trial Chamber.
Mr Mbarushimana, a 47 year old alleged national of Rwanda, is allegedly criminally responsible, for five counts of crimes against humanity (murder, torture, rape, inhumane acts and persecution) and six counts of war crimes (attacks against the civilian population, destruction of property, murder, torture, rape and inhuman treatment) allegedly committed in the context of an armed conflict which waged in the Kivu Provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2009. He is alleged to have been, since July 2007, the Executive Secretary of the Forces Démocratiques pour la Libération du Rwanda - Forces Combattantes Abacunguzi.
For further information and updates on this case, click here: http://www.icc-cpi.int/Menus/Go?id=07cfa383-a84a-4e0a-84b5-bf6066549a85&lan=en-GB
Web streaming of the hearing
The hearings will be held in open session unless ordered otherwise. The proceedings can be followed with a 30-minute delay on the ICC website at:
• English: http://livestream.xs4all.nl/icc3.asx
• French: http://livestream.xs4all.nl/icc4.asx
Hearing summaries and AV programmes
• an audio and video summary of the opening statements will be available on 16 and 19 September (floor channel only); and
• a weekly radio and television programme “In the Courtroom” (in French and Swahili), will be available on 23 September on the ICC YouTube channel for viewing and for downloading in broadcast quality on ftp server. …”
ii. "Decision on the "Requête urgente portant recours contre la Décision du Greffier sur la radiation d'un conseil et sollicitant une suspension immédiate des effets de cette décision"," ICC Presidency, 9 September 2011,
iii. "Decision on the representation of participating victims formerly represented by Mr Hervé Diakiese," ICC Pre-Trial Chamber I, 9 September 2011, http://www.icc-cpi.int/iccdocs/doc/doc1229943.pdf
iv. "Decision on the resubmission of lists of evidence," ICC Pre-Trial Chamber I, 7 September 2011, http://www.icc-cpi.int/iccdocs/doc/doc1227702.pdf
D. RELATED NEWS AND OPINION
“Registrar flooded with victims requests,” Hirondelle News Agency, 13 September 2011, http://www.hirondellenews.com/content/view/14743/564/
II. TRIAL UPDATES
A. LUBANGA TRIAL
For an update on the Lubanga trial, please visit http://www.lubangatrial.org/
1. NEWS UPDATES
i. “Q&A with the Executive Director of the Trust Fund for Victims Pieter W.I. de Baan” by Jennifer Easterday, Lubanga Trial Blog, 12 September 2011
2. CICC MEMBERS DECLARATION
i. “Gender Issues and Child Soldiers – Prosecutor v Thomas Lubanga’ Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice,” Women’s Initiative for Gender Justice, 30 August 2011 http://www.iccwomen.org/documents/Gender-Issues-and-Child-Soldiers.pdf
ii. “The Lubanga Case: Wrapping up the ICC’s First Trial” by Sophie Rosenberg, Enough Project, 1 September 2011 http://enoughproject.org/blogs/lubanga-case-wrapping-icc-first-trial
B. KATANGA/NGUDJOLO TRIAL
For an update on the Katanga/Ngudjolo trial, please visit: http://www.katangatrial.org/
1. NEWS UPDATES
i. “Judges Decide that Detained Witnesses Could be securely returned to DRC”
by Jennifer Easterday, Katanga Trial Blog, 2 September 2011
ii. “Mathieu Ngudjolo Begins Defense Case” by Jennifer Easterday, Katanga Trial Blog, 1 September 2011 http://www.katangatrial.org/2011/09/mathieu-ngudjolo-begins-defense-case/
III. OTHER DEVELOPMENTS
A. CICC MEMBERS STATEMENTS
i. “Congo: The Electoral Process Seen from the East” International Crisis Group, 5 September 2011 http://www.crisisgroup.org/en/regions/africa/central-africa/dr-congo/B80-congo-the-electoral-process-seen-from-the-east.aspx
ii. “Unfinished Business, Closing Gaps in the Selection of ICC Cases,” Human Rights Watch report, Section II “Democratic Republic of Congo”, 15 September 2011 http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/icc0911webwcover.pdf
B. NEWS AND OPINION
i. “Congolese Pygmies Struggle to Integrate” by Espérance Nzigire, IWPR, 12 September 2011
ii. “ICC aims at Mbarushimana,” by Thijs Bouwknegt, International Justice Tribune, 12 September 2011 http://www.rnw.nl/international-justice/article/icc-aims-mbarushimana
iii. “Rwandan rebel leader in war crimes court hearing” AFP, Capital FM, 14 September 2011 http://www.capitalfm.co.ke/news/2011/09/14/rwandan-rebel-leader-in-war-crimes-court-hearing/
IV. AUDIOVISUAL RESOURCES
i. ‘In the Courtroom’ programme – Weekly summary of the proceedings (5–9 September 2011) in the case The Prosecutor v. Germain Katanga and Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui
YouTube (for viewing):
Audio (mpeg3) for download:
Video (mpeg4) for download:
ii. Speech of Mr. Benjamin Ferencz at Closing of Lubanga Case You Tube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TI3JhJOhBQo
CICC's policy on the referral and prosecution of situations before the ICC:
The Coalition for the ICC is not an organ of the court. The CICC is an independent NGO movement dedicated to the establishment of the International Criminal Court as a fair, effective, and independent international organization. The Coalition will continue to provide the most up-to-date information about the ICC and to help coordinate global action to effectively implement the Rome Statute of the ICC. The Coalition will also endeavor to respond to basic queries and to raise awareness about the ICC's trigger mechanisms and procedures, as they develop. The Coalition as a whole, and its secretariat, do not endorse or promote specific investigations or prosecutions or take a position on situations before the ICC. However, individual CICC members may endorse referrals, provide legal and other support on investigations, or develop partnerships with local and other organizations in the course of their efforts. Communications to the ICC can be sent to: ICC P.O. box 19519 2500 CM The Hague, the Netherlands.