International Justice Monitor

A project of the Open Society Justice Initiative

Judges Rule Out Holding Ongwen Trial Opening in Uganda

The start of former Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) commander Dominic Ongwen’s International Criminal Court (ICC) trial will not take place in Uganda due to security concerns and the judges’ heavy workload at the court’s seat in The Hague. The trial will commence on December 6, 2016 in The Netherlands.

In a July 18, 2016 decision, judges recognized the importance of “bringing justice closer” to the affected communities but decided against holding the opening in Uganda. They noted security concerns related to Ongwen’s “prospective presence in Uganda and the victims’ ensuing fear of possible episodes of violence.” They also cited the “judicial workload of the chamber’s individual judges in other situations and cases before the court,” among the logistical difficulties.

Last May, the … Continue Reading

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Kwoyelo Trial Postponed (Again) in Ugandan Court: Causes and Ramifications

This post was written by Lino Owor Ogora, Director, Foundation for Justice and Development Initiatives, an NGO based in Gulu District, Uganda, that works with children, youth, women, and communities to promote justice, development, and economic recovery in Northern Uganda. The views expressed here do not necessarily represent the views of the Open Society Justice Initiative.

Colonel Thomas Kwoyelo is a former Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) commander who is currently facing charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity before the International Crimes Division (ICD) of the High Court of Uganda. Although authorities arrested Kwoyelo in 2008, the start of his trial has been postponed numerous times. In April 2016, a pre-trial hearing was held in Kampala, and the main trial … Continue Reading

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Sexual Violence Victims Want Kenyan State to Acknowledge What Happened to Them, Says Witness

A witness said non-governmental organizations working with victims of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) committed during the upheaval that followed the December 2007 presidential election were “upset” when a top prosecutor said police did not treat the sexual violence as conflict-related.

Saida Ali told the Kenyan High Court on Wednesday that when the senior prosecutor spoke at a civil society function in October 2012, representatives of non-governmental organizations present had expected to hear more from the senior prosecutor than there was little that could be done about the SGBV cases they had on file.

“We were quite upset. We were upset because we were expecting more tangible action,” Ali told the court.

Ali is the 14th witness from the petitioners’ side to testify … Continue Reading

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Ce que pensent ceux qui y vivent: Quête de justice en Ituri

Le script ci-dessous provient d’une émission de radio diffusée les 26 et 30 mai 2016 sur Radio Canal Révélation, une station de radio située à Bunia, en République Démocratique du Congo. L’émission fait partie du projet mené par Radio Canal, intitulé « Projet de Radio Interactive pour la Paix et la Justice » qui encourage le débat sur des thèmes clés de justice en RDC. Le script a été modifié afin de retirer les informations non essentielles.

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Présentatrice : Le procès de Bosco Ntaganda, ancien chef adjoint de l’Etat Major Général  de Force patriotique pour la libération du Congo   « FPLC»  continue à La Haye au Pays-Bas avec le témoignage des victimes alignées par l’accusation.

Il [Ntaganda] est accusé de treize chefs de crimes … Continue Reading

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Voices from the Ground: In Search of Justice in Ituri

The below transcript is from a program on Radio Canal Révélation, a radio station based in Bunia, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which aired on May 26 and May 30, 2016. The program is part of the radio station’s Interactive Radio for Justice and Peace Project, which promotes discussion on critical issues around justice in DRC. This transcript has been edited to remove non-relevant information.

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Presenter: The trial of Bosco Ntaganda, former Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Patriotic Forces for the Liberation of Congo (FPLC) continues in The Hague in the Netherlands with the testimony of the victims lined up by the prosecution.

He [Ntaganda] is charged with 13 counts of war crimes and five counts of crimes against humanity. These … Continue Reading

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Les juges ordonnent à l’accusation de réduire le nombre de ses témoins au procès Ntaganda

Les juges ont ordonné à l’accusation de diminuer le nombre de témoins qu’elle avait l’intention d’appeler pour témoigner à l’encontre du général militaire congolais Bosco Ntaganda dont le procès s’est ouvert devant la Cour pénale internationale (CPI) en septembre dernier.

Avant la clôture de l’audience d’aujourd’hui, le juge président Robert Fremr a intimé au Bureau du Procureur de « réduire de manière significative » le nombre de ses témoins et de faire savoir au juges ce mois-ci quel serait leur nombre définitif.

Jusqu’à présent, 31 personnes ont apporté un témoignage oral pour l’accusation et les juges ont, de plus, admis le témoignage écrit de trois autres témoins à charge. Au début du procès, l’accusation a fait savoir qu’elle appellerait jusqu’à 80 témoins mais il n’a pas … Continue Reading

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Judges Order Prosecution to Slash Number of Witnesses in Ntaganda Trial

Judges have directed the prosecution to reduce the number of witnesses it intends to call to testify against Congolese military general Bosco Ntaganda, whose trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC) opened last September.

Prior to the close of today’s hearing, Presiding Judge Robert Fremr instructed the Office of the Prosecutor to “significantly reduce” the number of its witnesses and inform judges this month what the ultimate number would be.

So far, 31 individuals have provided oral evidence for the prosecution, and, in addition, judges have admitted the written testimony of three other prosecution witnesses. At the start of the trial, the prosecution stated that it would call up to 80 witnesses, but it is not clear how many it still intends … Continue Reading

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Judges Decline to Consider Reparation Request of Victims in Ruto and Sang Case

Judges of the International Criminal Court (ICC) declined to consider a request by victims in the case against Deputy President William Samoei Ruto and former journalist Joshua arap Sang to determine if the Kenyan government should provide them reparations or order the Trust Fund for Victims (TFV) to provide them with assistance.

Trial Chamber V(a) said in a 2-1 decision that the chamber no longer has the jurisdiction to decide the matter because the trial against Ruto and Sang was terminated on April 5. Judges Robert Fremr and Olga Herrera Carbuccia reasoned in the July 1 decision that because the case was closed without any conviction, the chamber cannot make any ruling on the issue of reparation.

Presiding Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji dissented, elaborating his reasoning on … Continue Reading

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Witness Justifies the Use of Heavy Weapons When Facing “an Enemy That Does Not Respect the Rules”

Today’s hearing in the trial of Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé, the last before the trial resumes in late August, provided one more opportunity to question the current prosecution witness. The discussion was mainly on heavy weapons, Abobo events, and the Invisible Commando.

As in previous sessions, the witness’s identity and ID number were not disclosed. However, judging from the conduct of the examination, it was probably the same person that was questioned in previous days. “This is your last day of testimony,” the Presiding Judge also said when opening the hearing. Geert-Jan Knoops, Charles Blé Goudé’s defense counsel, also questioned the witness about statements he had made during the July 12th hearing.

Taxis to open fire

For much of the session, … Continue Reading

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Weapons Burned for Disarmament Dated Back to “World War I,” According to Witness

On July 13, the Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé trial began with questioning by defense lawyer Andreas O’Shea. He questioned the thirteenth prosecution witness on the Ivorian army, the disarmament process, and the RTI march. Blé Goudé’s lawyers were also able to question him. Here is how it all went.

Laurent Gbagbo’s defense lawyer Andreas O’Shea asked whether concrete measures had been put in place within the Ivorian Defense and Security Forces (FDS) to protect civilians during the 2010-2011 crisis. According to the witness, who was unable to cite concrete examples, the protection of civilians was a broad mission whose modes of operation varied greatly depending on the situation on the ground.

The lawyer also asked the witness whether he thought … Continue Reading

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