International Justice Monitor

A project of the Open Society Justice Initiative

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

Leave a comment

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

Leave a comment

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

Leave a comment

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

Leave a comment

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

Leave a comment

Reactions to the Sentencing of Germain Katanga: Some Comfort, Some Frustration

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 May 23, the International Criminal Court (ICC) handed down a 12-year prison sentence to the convicted Congolese militia leader Germain Katanga. Despite what was seen as a light sentence to some, it was not greeted with surprise in Ituri, the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) province where Katanga’s crimes took place. In the words of one local lawyer, “The acquittal of [Katanga’s former co-accused] Mathieu Ngudjolo and the changing of the mode … Continue Reading

Leave a comment

Witnesses Released from ICC Detention

Three ICC witnesses who testified on behalf of Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui and Germain Katanga were released today from the ICC detention center into the custody of Dutch officials. The witnesses will be in Dutch custody pending the outcome of their asylum applications in the Netherlands.

The three witnesses, Floribert Ndjabu Ngabu, Sharif Manda Ndadza Dz’Na, and Pierre-Célestin Mbodina Iribi, had been detained in the DRC before they were transferred to the ICC detention center to testify for the defense of Katanga and Ngudjolo in May 2011. During their testimony, they claimed that the president of the DRC, Joseph Kabila, was responsible for crimes committed in the country’s Ituri district. For this, the witnesses claimed they would be subject to human rights … Continue Reading

2 Comments

Statement from Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice on Katanga Sentencing Judgment

Dear Readers,

The following statement was posted May 23, 2014 on the website of Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice , an international women’s human rights organization that advocates for gender justice through the International Criminal Court (ICC) and works with women most affected by the conflict situations under investigation by the ICC. The views and opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the Open Society Justice Initiative. To read the full version of the statement, click here.

Today, a majority of Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Court (ICC) sentenced Germain Katanga (Katanga) to 12 years’ imprisonment, in the second sentencing judgement issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC). The Chamber also ordered that the six … Continue Reading

Leave a comment

Germain Katanga Sentenced to 12 Years Imprisonment

Today, a majority of Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Court (ICC) sentenced Germain Katanga to 12 years imprisonment for aiding and abetting war crimes and crimes against humanity. His sentence will be reduced by the time he has already served during the trial, approximately seven years. Judge Christine van den Wyngaert dissented.

This is the second sentence handed down by the ICC. The first was for Thomas Lubanga, leader of the Union of Congolese Patriotics (UPC), who was sentenced in 2012 to 14 years of imprisonment for the use of child soldiers.

Germain 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). He … Continue Reading

Leave a comment

ICC partially convicts Katanga in third Trial Judgment, acquitting Katanga of rape and sexual slavery

Dear Readers,

The following commentary first ran in the first Special Issue of Legal Eye on the ICC, a regular eLetter produced by the Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice, an international women’s human rights organization that advocates for gender justice through the International Criminal Court (ICC) and works with women most affected by the conflict situations under investigation by the ICC. The views and opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the Open Society Justice Initiative. To read the full version of the Legal Eye eLetter, click here. To read the previous Special Issues, click here.  

On March 7, 2014, Trial Chamber II issued the ICC’s third Trial Judgment in the case of The Prosecutor v. Germain Katanga, convicting … Continue Reading

Leave a comment