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Latest statements and news
06 Jan 2012
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 latest updates on the Katanga and Ngudjolo trial (I), the conclusion of the Mbarushimana case (II) and the Lubanga trial (III), as well as CICC member press releases related to other developments (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. KATANGA AND NGUDJOLO TRIAL
A. ICC PRESS RELEASE
i. "Closing statements in the trial against Germain Katanga and Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui scheduled to start on 15 May 2012," Media Advisory ICC-CPI-20120105-MA115, International Criminal Court, 5 January 2012
http://www.icc-cpi.int/menus/icc/press and media/press releases/news and highlights/ma115?lan=en-GB
"Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has set the timetable for the closing written submissions in the case The Prosecutor v. Germain Katanga and Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui, and conveyed the parties and participants to present their closing oral statements in a public hearing that will start on 15 May 2012. The timetable takes into account the time required for the translation of the final submissions.
According to the Chamber's order issued on 4 January 2012 the Prosecution and the Legal Representation of Victims shall file their written closing submissions no later than 20 February 2012. The two teams of the Defence have been given until 26 March 2012 to reply to such submissions. The final submissions shall address the contextual elements of crimes against humanity and war crimes, the facts which form the basis of the alleged crimes together with the criminal responsibility of the accused.
As indicated in the Trial Chamber's order setting the timetable, the parties and participants should be prepared at the closing hearings to entertain questions from Trial Chamber II composed of Judges Bruno Cotte (presiding), Fatoumata Dembele Diarra and Christine Van den Wyngaert, when their closing statements are delivered orally.
Germain Katanga and Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui, Congolese nationals, are charged with three counts of crimes against humanity and seven counts of war crimes allegedly committed in the context of an armed conflict in Ituri which began in Djugu territory and in the town of Mongbwalu, and in particular during the joint attack by combatants allegedly led by Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui and Germain Katanga on Bogoro village on 24 February, 2003, which was part of a widespread attack and was allegedly directed not only against a military camp located in that village, but also against the civilian population of the village. The trial started on 24 November 2009."
II. CONCLUSION OF THE MBARUSHIMANA CASE
A. ICC PRESS RELEASES
i. "Callixte Mbarushimana is released from the ICC custody," Press release ICC-CPI-20111223-PR760, International Criminal Court, 23 December 2011 http://www.icccpi.int/menus/icc/press and media/press releases/news and highlights/pr760?lan=en-GB
"On 23 December 2011, Callixte Mbarushimana was released in accordance with the decision issued by Pre-Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Thanks to the full cooperation of the Netherlands, the Host State of the ICC, and of France, Mr Mbarushimana was released on French territory, as he requested.
On 16 December 2011, Pre-Trial Chamber I decided by Majority to decline to confirm the charges in the case of The Prosecutor v. Callixte Mbarushimana and ordered that the warrant of arrest issued against him cease to have effect. Mr Mbarushimana was released from the ICC's custody on 23 December 2011, upon the completion of the necessary arrangements, as ordered by Pre-Trial Chamber I.
Callixte Mbarushimana was surrendered to the custody of the ICC by French authorities on 25 January 2011, in accordance with the warrant of arrest delivered against him on 28 September 2010 by Pre-Trial Chamber I. In the document containing the charges, the Prosecutor charged Mr Mbarushimana with five counts of crimes against humanity (murder, inhumane acts, rape, torture, and persecution) and eight counts of war crimes (attacking civilians, murder, mutilation, cruel treatment, rape, torture, destruction of property and pillaging). The Confirmation of Charges hearing was held from 16 to 21 September 2011. The Majority of the Chamber, comprising Judge Sylvia Steiner and Judge Cuno Tarfusser, found that there was not sufficient evidence to establish substantial grounds to believe that Callixte Mbarushimana could be held criminally responsible, under article 25(3)(d) of the Rome Statute, for these counts. Judge Sanji Mmasenono Monageng, Presiding, filed a dissenting opinion."
SEE ALSO :
ii. "Pre-Trial Chamber I declines to confirm the charges against Callixte Mbarushimana and orders his release," Press Release ICC-CPI-20111216-PR757, International Criminal Court, 16 December 2011
B. COALITION MEMBER PRESS RELEASE
i. "The Serious violations of human rights committed on civilians in Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) should by no means remain unpunished," (Les graves violations des droits de l'homme commises sur la population civile à l'Est de la République Démocratique du Congo (RDC) ne doivent en aucun cas rester impunies), LIPADHO, Press Release, N°021/CN/LIPADHO/2011 http://www.coalitionfortheicc.org/documents/LIPADHO_la_relaxation_de_Calliste_MBARUSHIMANA.pdf (Original French)
"Informed about the release of Mr. Callixte Mbarushimana, Secretary General of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) on 23 December 2011 and following the decision of 16 December 2011 issued by Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court (ICC), which did not confirm the charges brought by Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo concerning serious crimes allegedly committed by FDLR forces on civilians in North and South Kivu in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) between January 2009 and September 2009 and therefore canceling the warrant issued against him, plaintiffs and victims, particularly from the village of Bushaku in the Kalehe territory of South Kivu, as well as those from the Remeka village in the Walikale territory in North Kivu, have expressed their total disappointment coupled with a sense of abandonment on them. They also fear for their security in the future and for the judicial recognition of all the harm and pain they have suffered.
They cannot understand that such a judicial body of the caliber of the ICC, with its material and human resources and in which they have placed their only hope for justice, because of the miscarriage of justice by the Congolese National judiciary,.is about to fail in its mission."
ii. "Mbarushimana Case Not Ready for Trial at ICC," Coalition for the ICC, Press Release, 16 December 2011 http://iccnow.org/documents/CICC_PR_MBARUSHIMANA_16122011_FINAL.pdf
C. RELATED NEWS ARTICLES
1. CICC MEMBER QUOTED
1. "Misgivings Follow ICC Ruling On Mbarushimana," The New Times, 20 December 2011
"The International Criminal Court (ICC), Friday, ordered the release of Callixte Mbarushimana, the leader of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) militia..
Following the ICC ruling on Friday, a global network of civil society organizations in 150 countries advocating for a fair, effective and independent ICC, issued a release, saying that the case was not ready for trial at the ICC.
"It is a reality that FDLR forces continue to be very active in the east of DRC, and the grave crimes they are committing against the civilian population have gone unpunished for many years," Andre Kito, Coordinator of the DRC Coalition for the ICC, is quoted.
"The arrest of Mbarushimana and his subsequent hearings before the ICC had brought great hope to victims and affected communities in the region that justice would be delivered, so the decision will undoubtedly accentuate their suffering and concerns about their security," Kito added.[.]"
2. OTHER RELATED NEWS AND OPINIONS ARTICLES
1. "Callixte Mbarushimana Released from ICC Custody," by Gentian Zyberi, International Law Observer, 31 December 2011 http://internationallawobserver.eu/2011/12/31/callixte-mbarushimana-released-from-icc-custody
2. "ICC confirms release of Calixte Mbarushimana," All Voices, 27 December 2011
3. "ICC frees Rwandan rebel Callixte Mbarushimana," Live Nws blog, 23 December 2011
4. "ICC frees Rwandan rebel Callixte Mbarushimana," BBC, 23 December 2011
5. "Callixte Mbarushimana: A free man in Paris?," RNW, 22 December 2011 http://www.rnw.nl/international-justice/article/callixte-mbarushimana-a-free-man-paris
6. "Release of Rwandan rebel by International Criminal Court delayed by travel ban," AP, 20 December 2011 http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/africa/release-of-rwandan-rebel-by-international-criminal-court-delayed-by-travel-ban/2011/12/20/gIQATwm66O_story.html
7. "Int'l court refuses to halt Rwandan's release," CNCNWS, 19 December 2011 http://cncnws.com/blog/2011/12/19/intl-court-refuses-to-halt-rwandans-release/
8. "Pre-Trial Chamber I declines to confirm the charges against Callixte Mbarushimana and orders his release," Sudanese online, 17 December 2011 http://www.sudaneseonline.com/english/press-releases/4679-pre-trial-chamber-i-declines-to-confirm-the-charges-against-callixte-mbarushimana-and-orders-his-release.html
9. "Judges Order Immediate Release of Callixte Mbarushimana," Hirondelle News Agency, 16 December 2011 http://allafrica.com/stories/201112190980.html
10. "ICC dismiss Rwanda rebel Callixte Mbarushimana charges," Ben Television, 16 December 2011
III. LUBANGA TRIAL
A. NEWS COVERAGE
i. "Trial Chamber Confirms Order to send Witness to DRC," Lubanga Trial, 28 December 2011
ii. "DR Congo witnesses for ICC may seek Dutch asylum," AFP, 28 December 2011
iii. "Dutch Court: 3 Congolese Witnesses Can Seek Asylum," Voice of America, 28 December 2011
IV. CICC MEMBER PRESS RELEASES RELATED TO OTHER DEVELOPMENTS
i. "Demand justice for the Congolese People: Time for Justice in the Democratic Republic of Congo," Amnesty International, International Justice Campaign, http://www.amnesty.org/en/50/campaigns/international-justice
"In the last two decades, the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo have endured horrific human rights violations.
Most of these violations have not been investigated, those responsible have not been prosecuted and victims have been denied justice and redress.
However, the recent elections and a newly re-elected President provide fresh hopes that the Congolese may finally see justice done. Help us seize this opportunity to support them in their fight for justice.
Years of conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have made impunity the rule rather than the exception. Join our campaign to end impunity for crimes under international law wherever they occur.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
We need you to help activists in the Democratic Republic of the Congo pressure the authorities and the international community to make justice a priority in the new legislature starting in 2012. Join our actions:
. by signing the online petition asking the newly appointed President to make justice and the fight against impunity a priority for his term of office.
Become a part of a global network of activists: Sign our open Petition for Justice!"
ii. "DRC: Post-election intimidation through arrests must end," Press Release, Amnesty International, 19 December 2011
iii. "DR Congo: 24 Killed since Election Results Announced," Press Release, HuMAN Rights Watch, 21 December 2011
iv. "DR Congo: Saving the Elections," Press Release, International Crisis Group, 8 December 2011 http://www.crisisgroup.org/en/publication-type/media-releases/2011/africa/dr-congo-saving-the-elections.aspx
The 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:
P.O. Box 19519
2500 CM, The Hague