International Justice Monitor

A project of the Open Society Justice Initiative

Asylum Proceedings in the Ngudjolo Case: What Happened in the Dutch Courts?

This guest blog is written by Wieteke Theeuwen, who is a Legal Fellow with the Coalition for the International Criminal Court. She holds a Master of laws in Public International Law from Leiden University and an LL.B in Dutch and European Law from Maastricht University. The views and opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the Open Society Justice Initiative.

On Friday, February 27, the International Criminal Court (ICC) Appeals Chamber confirmed the acquittal of Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui. He had been charged with crimes against humanity and war crimes for a 2003 attack on the village of Bogoro in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Immediately after Ngudjolo was acquitted, Dutch authorities escorted him to Schiphol airport … Continue Reading

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ICC Appeals Chamber Upholds Ngudjolo’s Acquittal

Today, the Appeals Chamber at the International Criminal Court (ICC) delivered its judgment in the appeal lodged by the prosecution against the acquittal of Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui. In December 2012, Trial Chamber II acquitted Ngudjolo of war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed during an attack on the village of Bogoro in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). A majority of the five-judge panel confirmed the acquittal. Two judges dissented.

The prosecutor had put forward three grounds of appeals, namely:

That the trial chamber erred in law in its application of the “guilty beyond reasonable doubt” standard of proof;
That the trial chamber erred in law because it failed to consider all the evidence and facts in making its decision; and
That … Continue Reading

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Appeals Judgment on the Acquittal of Ngudjolo to be Announced February 24

Today, the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced that the appeal judgment on the acquittal of Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui will be delivered on Tuesday, February 24. Trial Chamber II acquitted Ngudjolo of all charges on December 18, 2012 after they severed his trial from co-accused Germain Katanga.

Ngudjolo was charged with seven counts of war crimes (using children under the age of fifteen to take active part in hostilities, directing an attack against civilians, willful killing, destruction of property, pillaging, sexual slavery, and rape) and three counts of crimes against humanity (murder, rape, and sexual slavery) allegedly committed during an attack on the village of Bogoro in the Ituri region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) on February 24, 2003.

The … Continue Reading

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Appeals Chamber Hears Arguments in Ngudjolo Trial; Ngudjolo Claims He is a Victim

Today the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) heard submissions from the parties in the trial of Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui.

Ngudjolo was charged with seven counts of war crimes (using children under the age of fifteen to take active part in hostilities; directing an attack against civilians; willful killing; destruction of property; pillaging; sexual slavery; and rape) and three counts of crimes against humanity (murder, rape, and sexual slavery) allegedly committed during an attack on the village of Bogoro, in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) on February 24, 2003.

For all of the crimes except those related to child soldiers, he is accused of having committed the crimes through “indirect co-perpetration,” where the accused used a hierarchical organization … Continue Reading

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Oral Hearing for Ngudjolo Appeal Set for October

The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court has set a date for an oral hearing in the Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui case. Trial Chamber II acquitted Ngudjolo on December 18, 2012 of charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity. The prosecution has appealed, and oral arguments will be held before the Appeals Chamber on October 21, 2014.

The prosecution submitted a request for an oral hearing on August 29, 2014. In its request, the prosecution argued that a mandatory oral appeal hearing was assumed within the ICC’s legal and procedural framework. The prosecution argued that although there is no specific provision about this in the statute or rules, the drafters of the court’s legal framework would have specifically stated if … Continue Reading

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Lack of Appeal in Katanga is Unjust, Victims’ Lawyers Say

Notice by the prosecution and defense to the Appeals Chamber at the International Criminal Court (ICC) that neither party would be pursuing an appeal in the case against Germain Katanga provoked strong disagreement among the legal representatives for victims in the case.

Trial Chamber II, by a majority, convicted Katanga of aiding and abetting war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by an armed militia during a February 2003 attack on the village of Bogoro in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. The majority sentenced him to 12 years of imprisonment, to be reduced by the time he has been in detention during trial.

The legal representative for the “general” victims asserted that the prosecution did not consult him about its decision … Continue Reading

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Witnesses Returned to DRC

The Netherlands has returned three Congolese witnesses, who testified in the trials of Germain Katanga and Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui before the International Criminal Court (ICC),to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

According to the witnesses’ lawyer, Goran Sluiter, their request for interim measures to prevent their return pending a determination on the issue by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) was denied. The ECtHR case is still ongoing, although the witnesses are now in the DRC.

The three witnesses were brought to The Hague in March 2011 to testify in the defense of Katanga and Ngudjolo, who were charged by the ICC with war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during an attack on Bogoro, a village in eastern Democratic … Continue Reading

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Criminals or Victims? The Complexities of Addressing the Requests of ICC Witnesses for Asylum

Dear readers – please find below a commentary written by Olivia Bueno at the International Refugee Rights Initiative (IRRI) in consultation with Congolese activists. The views and opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of IRRI or of the Open Society Justice Initiative.

On June 27, a Dutch court refused the appeal of three former the International Criminal Court (ICC) witnesses, Floribert Ndjabu Ngabu, Sharif Manda Ndadza Dz’Na, and Pierre-Célestin Mbodina Iribi, for asylum in the Netherlands. The witnesses, who were previously in prison in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) before giving testimony at the ICC, had been held at the ICC detention center in The Hague prior to their June 2014 release into the custody … Continue Reading

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Dutch Court Upholds Rejection of Witnesses’ Asylum Claims

Dutch immigration authorities have denied asylum applications from three Congolese witnesses who testified in the trials of Germain Katanga and Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui before the International Criminal Court (ICC). The Dutch Council of State upheld this decision and also found that the witnesses could safely be returned to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

The three witnesses were brought to The Hague in March 2011 to testify in the defense of Katanga and Ngudjolo, who were charged by the ICC with war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during an attack on Bogoro, a village in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The witnesses had been imprisoned in the DRC pending charges related to the conflict there. Therefore, they were … Continue Reading

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No Appeal in Katanga Case

Germain Katanga has dropped his appeal against the judgment and sentence rendered against him by a majority of Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Court (ICC). In response, the prosecution dropped its appeal as well. Therefore, the trial chamber judgment and sentence are final.

Katanga is the former leader of an armed militia that became known as the Force de Résistance Patriotique en Ituri (FRPI, Patriotic Resistance Forces in Ituri). Trial Chamber II, by a majority, convicted Katanga of aiding and abetting war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the militia during a February 2003 attack on the village of Bogoro in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. The majority sentenced him to 12 years of imprisonment, to be … Continue Reading

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