International Justice Monitor

A project of the Open Society Justice Initiative

Judges Recall Former Militiaman Two Days After Testifying in Ntaganda Trial

Judges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) this morning recalled a prosecution witness to give further evidence in the trial of Bosco Ntaganda. It is unclear why the former fighter in the militia group where Ntaganda served as a commander was recalled. However, it appears that the ex-militiaman, who is testifying under the pseudonym Witness P888, was to be questioned about his school enrollment records.

All of today’s questioning of Witness P888 by the parties was conducted in closed session. The witness first appeared before judges last Monday and testified  that he was recruited in the Union for Congolese Patriots (UPC) during ethnic conflict in Congo’s Ituri province in 2002-2003. He recalled orders the accused gave to recruits to kill civilians … Continue Reading

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Grave Crimes Case Brief: The Molina Theissen Case

A hearing is scheduled today in Guatemala City in the high-profile Molina Theissen grave crimes case. The case is presently being heard by the Fifth Criminal Court, with Judith Secaida as presiding judge. The original request by the Attorney General’s (AG) Office to try the case in the High Risk Tribunal system was rejected but was approved on appeal.

The first arrests in the Molina Theissen case occurred on January 6, 2016, when four high-ranking retired military officers were arrested. (On the same day, fourteen military officers were also arrested in the CREOMPAZ case.) They are accused of crimes against humanity, aggravated assault, and enforced disappearance of 14-year-old Marco Antonio Molina Theissen and sexual violence and torture of his sister, Emma … Continue Reading

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Human Rights Watch Official Testifies in Ntaganda’s ICC Trial

The Deputy Director of the Africa Division of Human Rights Watch (HRW) testified Wednesday in the trial of Bosco Ntaganda at the International Criminal Court (ICC). Appearing for the prosecution, Anneke Van Woudenberg was questioned about her prior recorded testimony, reports she researched and authored, as well as associated documents.

Van Woudenberg’s statement, which judges admitted into evidence in an oral ruling on June 20, was recorded by investigators from the Office of the Prosecutor in October 2013. According to prosecutors, in her statement she provided information on her background, the research methodology of HRW, and information collected in relation to the armed conflict in Congo’s Ituri district between July 2002 and the end of 2004. The statement also relates to … Continue Reading

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Bemba Given 18-Year Jail Sentence at ICC

Former Congolese vice president Jean-Pierre Bemba has been sentenced to 18 years in jail following his conviction for failing to prevent his troops from committing crimes. The sentence is the longest ever to be handed out at the International Criminal Court (ICC), which has so far convicted three individuals.

Judge Sylvia Steiner, who presided over Bemba’s trial that opened in November 2010, said the crimes of rape, pillaging, and murder committed by Bemba’s soldiers were of “serious gravity,” and were committed with particular cruelty against defenseless civilians. She also said at the sentencing hearing that Bemba did not genuinely intend to take all reasonable measures to repress the commission of crimes. Instead, his actions were means to counter public allegations and … Continue Reading


Witness: Scientific Evidence Not Necessary to Prosecute Sexual Crimes

An international investigator and prosecutor told the Kenyan High Court that to prosecute sexual crimes it is not necessary to have medical or physical evidence to corroborate the testimony of survivors of such crimes.

Maxine Marcus said there are examples of cases in Guatemala, at the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL), and at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) where accused persons were convicted on the basis of the testimony of survivors and witnesses alone.

Marcus made these observations while testifying before the Kenyan High Court on May 25. She was an expert witness for petitioners who want the government to be held responsible for its failure to protect its citizens against sexual and gender-based crimes during the violence that erupted … Continue Reading

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Former Fighter Tells ICC Judges Ntaganda Ordered Ethnic Killings

A former fighter in the militia group in which Bosco Ntaganda served as deputy chief of staff has told judges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) that Ntaganda ordered recruits to “go from house to house, and if you find enemies, kill them.”

Testifying for the prosecution in Ntaganda’s trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity at the court based in The Hague, Witness P888 said the orders were executed in the Congolese town of Songolo. “Several people were killed. We killed and torched their houses. We also removed every single item of value and handed them back to the commanders,” he said.

Witness P888 said as part of their training at the group’s camp at Mandro, Union for Congolese Patriots … Continue Reading

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Un ancien combattant déclare aux juges de la CPI que M. Ntaganda a ordonné des massacres ethniques

Un ancien combattant de la milice dans laquelle Bosco Ntaganda a été chef adjoint de l’état major a déclaré aux juges de la Cour pénale internationale (CPI) que M. Ntaganda avait ordonné aux recrues : « allez de maison en maison et si vous trouvez des ennemis, tuez les ».

Témoignant à charge au procès Ntaganda pour crimes de guerre et crimes contre l’humanité qui se tient devant la Cour basée à La Haye, le témoin P888 a indiqué que les ordres avaient été exécutés dans la ville congolaise de Songolo. « Plusieurs personnes ont été tuées. Nous les avons tué et nous avons incendié leurs maisons. Nous avons également pris tous les objets de valeur et nous les avons donné aux commandants », a-t-il précisé.

Le témoin P888 … Continue Reading

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Eight Military Officers to Stand Trial in CREOMPAZ Grave Crimes Case

In the CREOMPAZ case of alleged crimes against humanity and war crimes committed during Guatemala’s 36-year armed conflict, a court has found sufficient evidence to proceed to trial against eight of ten military officers accused by the Attorney General’s (AG) Office, including retired general and former army Chief of Staff Benedicto Lucas García.

The case will be heard by High Risk Tribunal “A,” comprised of judges Herbie Sical, Yassmín Barrios, and Patricia Bustamante. This is the same tribunal that emitted the February conviction in the Sepur Zarco case; Barrios and Bustamante were judges in the Ríos Montt genocide trial. Various appeals still need to be resolved before a full trial can begin.

In the concluding phase of a pretrial hearing held in … Continue Reading

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Procès Ntaganda : Le témoin P894 a apporté la totalité de son témoignage à huis clos

Le témoin de crime appelé par l’accusation dans le procès de Bosco Ntaganda qui se tient devant la Cour pénale internationale (CPI) a apporté la totalité de son témoignage à huis clos. Le témoin, qui se présente sous le pseudonyme de témoin P894, a été interrogé par les procureurs pendant une heure et demie tandis que la défense l’a contre-interrogé pendant trois heures.

Dans une ordonnance orale du 10 juin, les juges ont décidé que la déclaration antérieurement enregistrée par le témoin P894 ainsi que deux dessins qu’il a réalisé soient admis dans leur « totalité »dans le dossier de l’affaire en tant qu’éléments de preuve. Les procureurs ont demandé l’admission de document en tant que preuve afin de garantir la rapidité du procès « en diminuant … Continue Reading

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Ntaganda Trial: Witness P894 Gives all Evidence in Closed Session

A crime-based witness called by prosecutors in the trial of Bosco Ntaganda at the International Criminal Court (ICC) has given all his evidence in closed session. The witness, who goes by the pseudonym Witness P894, was questioned by prosecutors for only an hour and a half, while the defense cross-examined him for three hours.

In an oral order on June 10, judges ruled that Witness P894’s prior recorded statement, along with two sketches made by him, be entered into the case evidence record in their “entirety.” Prosecutors had requested to admit the documents into evidence in order to ensure the expeditiousness of the proceedings “by reducing the time of his in-court testimony.”

In their application to judges, prosecutors stated that the brief … Continue Reading

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